As the May 2004 national and state elections showed, farmer distress has now become a volcanic force capable of sweeping away political parties and policy regimes unfriendly to farmers. Karnataka and Andhra, two high profile IT states, have witnessed the ruthlessness with which this force works. This paper presents clues from Karnataka indicating that farmer distress is an outcome not of the lack of agricultural growth but, paradoxically, of the enterprising qualities of farmers who pursue growth and even achieve it in good measure. The indications are that farmers in Karnataka respond quite well to changing markets and are receptive to new technologies. But the drought-prone environment, combined with a non-caring policy regime, turns into victims the very producers who bring about growth.