Extraordinary Farmers

Over the years, I have developed a deep respect and admiration for the farmers who work every day to feed us all.

They are ordinary folks who face extraordinary challenges. Every. Single. Day.

One of my grandfathers was a dairy farmer in Wisconsin. My father-in-law was a beef cattle farmer in Upstate New York. In high school, I had the privilege of working on a produce farm in southern New Jersey.

I’m not sure I thought of it as a privilege at the time.

Yet, in spite of the sunburns, bee stings, mosquito invasions, mud, sweat, and aches – it became an important experience in my life.

I got to see three generations of farmers work every day to grow delicious tomatoes, peppers, squash, cantaloupes, watermelons, corn, and much more.

I saw decades-old tractors coaxed into life on a daily basis.

On occasion, I saw a biplane buzz across the treetops to spray the fields.

I learned to drive. The first time I ever drove a vehicle was when I had to back one of the farm’s pickups into a small barn.

Yes, there were even turkeys, ducks, and geese on the farm.

Frankly, you haven’t lived until you spend a day working with a half-dozen people, herding hundreds of ducks from one pen to another. (It’s like herding cats… only they quack.)

It was hard work. Long hours spent in fields and greenhouses.

And I value it immensely, especially now that I work in a role where I often write about agriculture.

So it is no surprise that I took a moment to watch this video about South Jersey farmers that I stumbled across during the course of my workday:

 

It turns out that the video creator, Kathleen Poliski, is related to one of my high school friends.

Ms. Poliski’s video is one of ten finalists in the video contest for this year’s World Ag Expo. The other nine videos are definitely worth a view, too.

Take a moment before January 30th, and vote for your favorite.

I’m partial to this one from South Jersey.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Great movie–she could have added sofa cushions (like mine) to the list of soy products. Thank you, unknown farmer, for your contribution to my comfort!

    Reply
  2. A dying lifestyle. Heartfelt. I voted. Regards, Pete

    Reply
    • It is definitely a challenge to find younger folks to enter the farming world, and it can be especially challenging for younger folks who want to pursue that career path. Thanks for voting, Pete!!

      Reply
  3. I am not a farmer, but I have always loved the thought of such an independent lifestyle. I try to grow as much produce as I possibly can on the lot that my mobile home sits on, but that is no comparison.

    When I lived in eastern Europe, I got to know some people who really relied on their gardens. 80 year old widows seeded more space in potatoes than the entire lot for my mobile home, in addition the their smaller vegetable gardens.

    Now, we in “civilized” countries lost the connection between hard work and food. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
    • Good points Dave… probably most Americans are finding themselves more and more unfamiliar with farming. That’s why it is so important for farmers, and folks familiar with farming, to share the stories of life on the farm.

      Reply

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  • Welcome!

    I believe that we desperately need to hear the stories of Ordinary Citizens who make a difference in our lives, our communities and our world.

    Why not be Ordinary?

    Why not make a difference?

    Why not be Ordinary AND make a difference?

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