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Dear Farmer:

You are my huggable hero. You might think your life is normal, perhaps even boring, but for millions like me on the outside looking in, we think you’re extraordinary.

For those of us who are not farmers, we drive past your swaying wheat fields and hum about spacious skies and amber waves of grain. We crank up the radio and sing along with Tim McGraw about country girls and boys getting down on the farm and, yes, we – my wife in particular – think your tractor’s sexy.

God Loves Farmers 

I know God loves everyone the same, but I think he has a soft spot in his heart for farmers because the story of humanity’s beginning starts on a farm. It might have been called the Garden of Eden but when you look at what Adam and Eve were given to do, they were farmers.

God did not put Adam and Eve on Wall Street, he didn’t make them politicians, he didn’t put them on assembly lines, he didn’t put them in retail stores, he didn’t make them professional athletes: he put them on a farm.

Everything was fine and dandy until the serpent arrived. From all I know about that story, he likely worked for the EPA.

We cannot accurately understand the history of our world unless we understand the history of agriculture. Civilizations have risen, and fallen, based on agriculture.

You are the most important part of our society. Three times a day our world depends on you to stay alive.

And yet, 16 million American citizens believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows

You might think your life is normal, perhaps even boring, but we think it’s extraordinary.

America Needs the Values You Embody

 I now have grandchildren who are looking for someone to look up to. I discourage them from looking for heroes on ESPN, CSPAN or HBO. Instead, I tell them to watch RFDTV. You represent the values that bind the fabric of any society together.

First, it’s your faith. Is there such a thing as a farmer who’s an atheist? I would imagine if I polled the farmers who read this, the majority of you have a position of leadership in your church.

Second, it’s your sense of family. Where I live in Kansas, it’s common for farmers to refer to themselves as third, fourth or fifth generation farm families. Many trace their farming roots back to the Homestead Act signed by President Lincoln in 1864. Family farms constitute 97.1 percent of farms in America. Can any other industry boast of that number?

Third, it’s your understanding of community. When one of you is sick, your neighbors harvest your crops and feed your cattle. When I look around our community at our schools, our churches and our festivals, I see farm families serving on boards and in leadership positions and it gives me hope that common sense will prevail.

Furthermore, the recent fires that ravaged parts of the Midwest illustrated the agricultural community is not defined geographically, but connected by a love for farming and ranching. I happened to be in Ohio the day nearly 50 trucks with hay, fencing and various supplies headed to western Kansas to help fellow farmers and ranchers.

Fourth, it’s your work ethic. I have engaged thousands of volunteers in meal packaging events and can always spot a farm kid; they work smarter, harder and stay longer.

You might think your life is normal, perhaps even boring, but we think it’s extraordinary.

Our country was founded by farmers

The Native Americans who lived here long before the Europeans arrived were agriculturalists and pastoralists who understood the soil, the weather and crops. When the Pilgrims arrived, they first put seeds in the ground.

If you’ve ever been to George Washington’s farm at Mt. Vernon, you understand our first President was first a farmer, then a soldier, then a politician. Thomas Jefferson said, “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute more to real wealth, good morals and happiness.” What did Lewis and Clark bring back that Jefferson liked the most? Seeds. He was fascinated with various plants and crops that were grown out west.

If you would have told Washington or Jefferson that one day the government would need to create the “Know your farmer, know your food,” initiative so people would know where their food came from, they would have laughed you out the front door. If you had told the early colonists that 16 million Americans would one day think chocolate milk came from brown cows, they would have tarred and feathered you.

Every child in America, from pre-school to doctoral students, needs agriculture integrated into every subject they’re taught. Maslow’s hierarchy of need places food as the most important part of our sustenance so it only makes sense we know how to grow our own.

No high school diploma should ever be handed out to a student unless they’ve shown a 4-H project at the county fair. No student should be let out of high school unless they’ve completed a Supervised Agricultural Experience in FFA.

Agriculture studies need to be a part of every college’s general education credits like math, English, humanities and science. Every college student should belong to an agriculture club at least one semester.

Please Tell Your Story

You might think your life is normal, perhaps even boring, but the world thinks it’s extraordinary.

Please don’t let others narrate your story, especially those who have no idea what its like to produce their best work, then receive one-fourth the money the crop was worth only a year ago. I doubt most of us would stay in our professions if we received one-fourth pay for our best efforts.

Please tell us about what you do; there are folks out who aren’t giving us the facts. Tell us when big companies build their marketing campaigns and labels on fear, half-truths and outright lies. We don’t want to buy from liars.

I’m sure you’re like my friend, the dairy farmer who wakes at 3:45 AM and goes to bed at 10 PM each day, often knowing he’s worked the whole day and lost money because lawmakers in England or Canada drove his milk prices into the cellar.

You all work before sunup to past sundown. You don’t have time to leave the farm and tell your story; we understand. Maybe invite folks to the farm and tell them your story there or jump on social media and share photos of what you do every day.

Please share your story. The world is waiting to hear your voice or read the words that flow from your pen.

You might think your life is normal, perhaps even boring, but for millions like me on the outside looking in, we think you’re extraordinary.

Sincerely,

Someone who is able to stay alive each day because of the work you do

P.S. – To read more of my stories about these amazing people, go to my Kansas Living page. Prepare yourself to be inspired!

 

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