Of course the "So God Made A Farmer," ad from the SuperBowl yesterday is making the rounds on not only Facebook, but also homesteading websites today. It's a beautiful piece, delivered by Paul Harvey in 1978 at an FFA conference, long on heart and short on spin.
But if you listen to the words closely, you will find he's NOT talking about modern factory farmers, who produce thousands of acres monocrop/genetically modified foods and work for faceless corporate behemoths. He's talking about farmers from the days of yore, who worked and lived on their own lands, grew food but also raised livestock, and were part of a close-knit community of like-minded souls. Like your and my great-grandfathers, more than likely.
In this country we love to glorify our farmers, to a point where we sometimes fail to see the difference between a real, small, local farmer and a corporate gun in a flannel shirt who drives a truck through the fields but works for a company that just happens to produce food instead of making widgets. But when Paul Harvey talks about the farmer who milks his cows before heading out into his fields to tend to his crops, who comes back in to his own house for lunch, and who tends to chickens, pigs, horses and seedlings, he's talking about a vanishing species: The homestead farmer.
There should be as much protection for this man and woman as there is for the bald eagle and the white rhino, because he is a vanishing species, friends.
It's my dream that someday, the man Paul Harvey is talking about will rise again in our country and become a common sight; that everyone will know a farmer who might be their friend, their neighbor, their spouse or maybe just the person they serve with on the school board.
Until that happens, we can at least help support those practicing this dying art by buying from them, and choosing their locally-produced goods over what's in the supermarkets, whenever its possible and whenever we can afford it. It's worth it, because it preserves not only a valuable profession, but also a way of life.