His name is Rick Friday. He was the cartoonist for Farm News for 21 years until he did a cartoon that cost him his job.

Farm News is delivered to more than 24,000 households each week in more than 30 Iowa counties. Over the course of two-plus decades, Friday did more than 1,000 cartoons for the publication.

His last cartoon, published at the end of April, featured two farmers talking. One remarks to the other, "I wish there was more profit in farming." The other responds, "There is. In year 2015, the CEO's of Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and John Deere combined made more than 2129 Iowa farmers." The cartoon, titled "Profit," (below) caused a local seed dealer and advertiser to cancel their advertising. Soon after, Farm News cancelled Friday's job.

Friday's story has been covered by the New York Times and the Columbia Journalism Review. He's become a symbol for free speech.

Rick Friday farms 600 acres in Union County... the fourth generation of his family to do so. He told the Des Moines Register, "Honestly, I try carefully not to offend. “But obviously that didn’t work.”

Monsanto released a statement saying they value “open discourse and conversation. We also believe that a little humor and the ability to laugh at ourselves goes a long way. … We had no part in your departure from Farm News. We appreciate anyone who speaks out on behalf of farmers.”

Friday may be back at Farm News soon. He says he's reviewing an offer to return and has other opportunities as well. It certainly appears he's going to land on his feet, which is the way it should be. Too often these days people are afraid to speak their minds for fear of repercussions. If the First Amendment can't protect cartoonists, there's no hope for any of us.

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