A Christmas tribute to farmers


Merry Christmas! On behalf of my family to yours … As you celebrate the miracle of this special season, may your heart be filled with joy and peace. May these holiday blessings linger in your home and stay with you throughout the year.

I wanted to do something different this week for the holidays and I finally came to a tribute I found over 20 years ago to farmers that I wanted to share. I take no credit for this piece — it is titled, “What is a Farmer?” I tried locating the author of it, but was unsuccessful.

So, what is a farmer? A farmer is a paradox: he is an executive in overalls with his home as their office; a scientist using fertilizer attachments; a purchasing agent in an old straw hat; a personnel director with grease under the fingernails; a dietician with a passion for alfalfa, aminos and antibiotics; a production expert with a surplus; and a manager battling a price-cost squeeze. A farmer manages more capital than most businessmen in town.

A farmer likes sunshine, good food, state fairs, dinner at noon, auctions, their shirt collar unbuttoned, and above all, a good soaking rain in August.

Farmers are found in fields: plowing up, seeding down, rotating from, planting to, fertilizing with, spraying for and harvesting. Wives help them, little boys follow them, the Agriculture Department confuses them, salesmen detain them and wait for them, weather can delay them, but it takes heaven to stop them.

A farmer has both faith and fatalism – he must have faith to continually meet the challenges of his capacities, amid an ever present possibility that an act of God (a late spring, an early frost, tornadoes, floods, and drought) can bring his business to a standstill. You can reduce his acreage but you can’t restrain his ambition.

He is not much for droughts, ditches, throughways, experts, weeds, grasshoppers or helping with housework.

Might as well put up with him — he is your friend; your competitor; your customer; and your source of food, fiber, and self- reliant young citizens to help replenish your cities. He is your countryman: a denim-dressed business – wise, fast – growing statesman of stature. When he comes in at noon, having spent all the energy of his hopes and dreams, he can be recharged anew with the magic words: “The market is up.”

As we close out this year, take time to realize our community was built on agriculture and it continues to be the driving force for many things including family, community, neighbors, and so much more.

During this holiday season take time to smell the roses and to remember the real reason for the season. Have a safe and Merry Christmas!

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 28 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.


Tony Nye

OSU Extension

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