The Chicago Tribune recently featured an editorial that serves as a prime example of why there is a vast crevice dividing our urban friends and agriculture. It all begins and ends with misinformation.

The editorial takes aim at a new farm bill.

“Big Agriculture is fighting to maintain the government handouts that have pumped up its profits for generations. After years of soaring farm incomes, and with a fabulous crop waiting to be harvested, it will be tougher than ever to portray agriculture as a hardship case in need of government protection,” the editorial said.

“Count on farm state lawmakers to try. When they complain that this year’s bin-buster is forcing down commodity prices, don’t listen. Even with the lower prices that come with a big crop, farmers still will be making money at levels far beyond the norm of modern times.

“There is no reason for agriculture producers to receive big checks from the government. But if the past is any guide, Congress will do everything possible to line their pockets yet again.

“The indefensible practice of making ‘direct payments’ from the Treasury to the bank accounts of well-off farmers is likely to continue as Congress revives its dysfunctional debate over the farm bill — its main legislation covering agriculture policy and nutrition for the poor.

“It’s time to draw the line. It’s time to pass a farm bill that eliminates the costly and unnecessary $5 billion a year in direct payments to farmers and landowners.

“Farm income has soared from $75.6 billion in 2009 to $99.4 billion in 2010, $134.7 billion in 2011 and $135.6 billion in 2012.

“A typical Illinois grain farmer with 1,200 acres under cultivation — an average-sized farm by today’s standards — earned nearly $300,000 after expenses last year, according to a University of Illinois study. Income for that typical farmer exceeded $200,000 in every year but one between 2007 and 2011.

“We wish them even more success. Many farms have paid down debt. Much of the equipment in use today is new. Shiny pickup trucks line driveways in rural hamlets across the heartland.

“But subsidies and government protection? Come on. That has to stop.”

The editorial folks are entitled to their opinion, but there is one problem. Who is this “Big Agriculture” that is “fighting to maintain the government handouts?”

It certainly isn’t the major commodity groups that I deal with or the farmers themselves that actually do the work and take the risk.

Farm and commodity groups actually are supporting change, and the editorial missed it by a country mile.

Here’s a couple examples from what I suppose must be “Big Agriculture” because they are “big” organizations representing farmers from across the nation.

Delegates at last year’s American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting defeated a proposal to retain the current farm bill’s direct payments and recommended a program to protect farmers from catastrophic revenue losses by using a flexible combination of fiscally responsible tools.

The National Corn Growers Association’s position is farmers need a strong federal crop insurance program and a market-oriented risk management program that delivers assistance only when it is needed.

The National Farmers Union supports the elimination of direct payments, adding that American farmers need a safety net in times of natural disaster and long-term price collapse, not when conditions are more favorable.

The American Soybean Association recognizes that budget constraints may require reducing or eliminating direct payments and that the farm bill must protect and strengthen crop insurance as a viable risk management tool.

At the local level, the Illinois Corn Growers Association held regional meetings throughout the state and asked farmers what they liked about current policy options, what could be improved, what they were willing to give up to do their part on the federal deficit and what they wanted to develop in the future.

Those polled by ICGA agreed that they could give up direct payments — they needed a revenue-based safety net and wanted crop insurance that really worked and protected them in crisis.

You know what really has to stop? Feeding the public with misinformation about agriculture. It’s not them against us. We’re all in this together, and the truth is the glue that can hold us together going forward.