They can fix anything.

Yes, anything.  The sole of your boot, your ailing pet, the half million dollar machine you use to harvest your crops – if any of them breaks, a farmer can figure out a way to get it up and going again.  Guaranteed.

This is why farmers are teased about needing duct tape and bailing wire everywhere they go.  Both are often useful in fixing whatever ails you.

They are extremely intelligent.

I consider myself a smart person, but the depth and scope of the issues and topics that farmers must truly understand baffles me.

I know about writing (sometimes) and raising kids (but do I do it well?) and I might even possess a bit more Biblical knowledge than I had last year, but farmers understand complex economic principles and the chemistry of their crop applications, not to mention soil tests, plant population, mechanization, and a host of other things that I’m certain none of us have even considered.  Computer science is the latest skill du jour … and while the younger guys might be better at running the drone to scout the fields, even the older guys are well versed at manning the mapping devices with ease.

They are mostly all deeply religious.

Farming is a very risky business.  I would liken farming to living in Las Vegas with the entire content of your life savings out on the table every single day.  The decisions farmers must make are scary and concern thousands and millions of dollars in and out every day.

One mistake flattens their family for the year, two mistakes might lose the farm.

When you’re gambling everything on Mother Nature and the commodity market, it pays to be good friends with the man upstairs.

Farmers rely on their faith in a way that most of us can’t conceive of – they are dependent on weather and God’s good grace to farm again the following year.  Faith and prayer are an important part of the daily and weekly routine.

They are in touch with life and death.

As a farmer’s daughter, I will tell you that one of the biggest differences between the way I was raised and the way others in town were raised was this: I understand the circle of life and it doesn’t scare me.

In the country, you loved your pets (kittens, piglets, rabbits or calves – species is of no importance here) fiercely – until the day they died.  And while some pets nourished your bodies while the memories of others nourished your spirit, it wasn’t something to be sad over and certainly not something to fear.

To be alive, means to be constantly facing death.  We understood this as little kids because we saw it every day in a way that folks from the city just don’t and can’t.

Farmers love the animals in their care, but they accept the circle of life and the purpose each and every animal serves on earth.

They give directions in slang.

A farmer CAN give you good directions to where ever you might be going in the country.  But you are more likely to hear:

“Go down here about a half a mile and turn right onto Lover’s Lane.  At Pickwick’s Curve, don’t take the curve.  Just keep on.  When you get to the Old Hatchet Place, you’ll see what you’re looking for kitty corner from the silo.”

And I can promise you, every single one of those names has a story.  A pretty good one.

They were ornery (even rotten!) little boys and girls.

Almost every adult farmer I know has at least a couple of stories about the mischievous antics of their younger years.

My own grandpa talked about leaving brown paper bags of cow poop on the neighbors doorsteps and setting them on fire.  A friend’s sister tried to repeat Woodstock in their home pasture when her parents were gone.

And every farmer has at least a couple of near death experiences that range from bee stings to grain bin elevators to manic livestock attacks.

Is this tendency to create harmless fun in their genes?

Lindsay Mitchell 11/14Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

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