Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Farmer, An American Icon

“He has never planted seeds or brought in a harvest.  He doesn’t even own overalls” was the first line in last week’s Ag section of the newspaper.  Excuse me? Overalls?? My first thought was, I think the Associated Press reporter has been watching too many “Green Acres” reruns on TV & he thinks we are bumpkins.  The article was talking about wealthy investors buying farm land at huge prices for investment purposes.  While that is problematic in and of itself because it drives up land prices and makes it hard for the farmer compete with the ultra rich in order to buy more land to farm, the article seemed to insinuate that we are uneducated people who wear overalls and who don’t seem to know what our land is worth.  Yes, it was insulting to those of us who raise the food that reporter eats, but then I thought, America loves the icon of the American Farmer and that we represent, the wholesomeness & goodness of our trade. 

This tractor used in our parent's generation is now a beloved
"yard ornament" in my flower bed
 So however America views us, let me share some facts about the farmers in our area.
• Most of the farmers have college degrees.

• Farming in today’s world is not what our parent’s generation did as the average farmer grows twice as much food as his parents did – using less land, energy, water and fewer emissions.

• Today, the average U.S. farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed just 26 people.

• We love our technology and are very “techie”, we have GPS units in our tractors to help us apply fertilizer and other applications only where it’s needed, as much as needed, and no more. See the 2nd video as Farmer Joe explains more on that.

• We care about our land and are good stewards, after all this is how we make our living

o We go to “combine school” to learn how to run our combines better

o We have continuing education on best practices to apply the products that help our crops &have to pass the certification standards in order to have a license to use these products

• We care about raising the safest, best and most economical food, not only for us but for you, the consumer

o We live on our land, we raise our families here, we eat the foods we grow and those are the same one that you eat too

o We are not the bad “corporate farms” that media tries to imply, if we are incorporated, it is simply for tax purposes. 97% of farms are run by farm families

o Weather and markets as well as anti Ag groups can be unkind to us, but we take it in stride and continue to get up every day to do our best, after all you depend on us

• We love what we do and want to continue living this life style, as well as pass it onto future generations to grow the food the world eats

A future farmerette, she loves combines and tractors
We understand that not everyone is a farmer, but everyone eats –and if some view us as a bumpkin, well so be it, but we feel we are living the life that dreams are made of. So I’ll get off my soapbox and hope this blog leaves you will a smile and a better understanding from our perspective.
As always, if you have comments or questions, please feel free to email me at or leave a comment. Starting next week, we will be harvesting our winter wheat, so I’ll be blogging on what the Anderson Farm is up to, with pictures and videos. As always, thanks for stopping by and come back soon. All my best, Gayle


  1. I love the wheat harvest photo!

  2. My dad was a farmer (orchardist); he didn't have a college degree, BUT he was an avid reader and probably knew more history and current events than any professor I had. And he never owned a pair of overalls - in fact, generally in the summer he ran around in shorts and hiking boots (his work boots) and was known as "Tarzan" by his neighbors in Dryden(WA). He was very consciencious about how he farmed and was always educating himself on the latest techniques to keep his land, his trees and himself healthy. After all, why would he want to poison off the consumer when they're the ones who buy his fruit?!? Oh, and by-the-way, my dad did NOT listen to country western music (hated it!) he listened to Jazz and Classical -- there's another stereotype down the drain! ;-)

    Thanks for your blog!