Farmers don’t really have business cards. The fact is that farmers grow up, work their entire lives, and die in the same small communities where everyone knows them and there are absolutely no need for business cards. Still, the rest of the world understands business cards as a way of telling someone new who you are and what you do.
IF farmers had business cards, here are a few I think they would trade …
Every successful farmer is a pro at marketing and economics. Think about it – farms are one of the very few industries that don’t get the privilege of charging whatever they want or need for their products. If the price goes up to plant corn, farmers can not pass that cost onto their consumers! So they become exceptional at marketing and watching for market signals. If they aren’t good at marketing and economics, they aren’t farmers for long.
Some farmers are very engaged in various social media platforms and other public relations efforts. One of our farmer leaders hosts tours to their farm for Chicago folks, hoping to alleviate fears for the people who are concerned about their food. Other farmer leaders have active Facebook pages to help their online community understand what farmers do and why. Public relations is a big priority for farmers across the nation as non-farmers show more significant concerns about how farms are managed and food is grown.
Every farmer is a mechanic, handiman, and even a computer tech when the mechanics and electronics in the tractor, combine, grain bin, fuel tank, or office quit working! There is a popular saying that a farmer can fix anything with baling wire and duct tape. In the age of technology, I’m not sure that’s 100 percent true, but it is pretty close. Farmers are excellent at knowing how things work and repairing them with only what they have.
Oh, the weather. The weather is the biggest joy and the biggest heartache of farming. When the weather is appropriate for the growing crops – rain when crops need rain, heat when crops need heat, cool and dry when crops need cool and dry – farmers delight in a gray soggy day or a 95 degree day in August. When hail or high winds or too much rain or too much heat show up, the weather can ruin a year of work. Farmers must be climatologists to try to predict when to plant, when to apply fertilizer, when to harvest and when to do a myriad of other tasks to optimize their efforts.
Farmers make their living off the land and their families eat the crops they grow and drink the water from their wells. Because of this connection with the land and the fact that they rely on it for their yearly sustenance, farmers are expert environmentalists. They are interested in preserving soil and water quality because that soil and water must be available to plant a crop next year and 50 years down the road. They care about the wildlife and the preservation of what they have spent their lifetime building. Farmers work hard to protect the environment and they appreciate everything the land gives to them.
Questions about how farmers do all these jobs and more every day? Ask away in the comments!