God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners; somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church; somebody who would bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says that he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.” So God Made a Farmer… –Paul Harvey
When the idea for this blog came to mind, I could not think of a better and more precise way to begin a tribute to the farming/ranching man. (Ladies, I know that women contribute to, can also run a farm, etc. However, let us give credit where credit is due J ) Being born and raised on a farm and being surrounded by hard-working men who did so much to provide for their families, their farm and their land, I have so much respect for those who pursue and live the farming lifestyle.
We all know this lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. It does take a special kind of man to devote his life to being a true and successful farmer/rancher – one who strives, compassionate, resilient, hard-headed, family-oriented, intelligent, strong, faithful, honest, devoted and hard-working. Granted, these are all attributes that can be used to describe men in all lifestyles. However, when it comes to running a farm which consists of being responsible for several mouths to feed, acres of land to look after and a family to raise, these attributes are a must – and so very respected.
He (Rich Townsend) has spent his whole life trying to earn the proper respect among the best dairy breeders. He missed basketball games, FFA events, and many other things because of his dedication to his business. I never understood how someone could be so dedicated to something so exhausting. As I grew up I was finally able to understood why he did and still continues to fight for that respect despite how hard it is on him. He does not do it for the glory, though the recognition is nice. He simply does it for me and my sisters, and for his grandchildren. He works so hard in order to teach those around him that nothing in life comes easy and you must work for your success. I couldn’t imagine growing up any other way. – Shelby Belisle
So what makes the farming/ranching man so great and so “outstanding in their fields?” Here are just a few reasons why from a variety of perspectives:
- The farmer/rancher is proud. They are proud of their heritage. They are proud of what they have attained and accomplished. They are proud of the hardships they have endured. They are proud of the fact they contribute to feeding the world. They are proud of the fact their last name resides on the farm sign that resides at the farm’s entrance. And most of all, they are proud of their family – from the woman by their side, the kids following in their footsteps and the fact that they are instilling their family heritage for generations to come.
- They are men of high standards and expectations. Wait, what? It is the truth. Farming is something that cannot be successful if effort is less than 100%. The farming/ranching man has a big responsibility on his shoulders. They have to commit to caring for their farm and make sacrifices to ensure that care is fulfilled. They have to keep their animals and land healthy to provide products that are safe for consumers. And they are responsible for helping provide for their families while giving their livestock and land the best care possible. And when it comes time to have to bury their kids’ dog, decide to put an animal out of their misery when an incurable injury/disease occurs, or sell an animal, they are the ones who have to show courage – no matter how hard it is.
- Being humble is often a common trait among farming/ranching men. I guess you can say the years when crop yields struggled, prices were low, bills were high; the days when animals were lost, a storm rolls through, or the truck and/or tractor quit – really served as a lesson that no farms’ success is guaranteed. These all served as lessons that the good days should be embraced and the bad days should serve as reminders. Being arrogant is not the answer – so I have been told by so many of the farming/ranching men I know.
- The storytellers. There is really no further explanation required here. These guys have seen so much and been through so much that they can tell story after story. Stories with funny/good endings and others with not-so-good endings. They can also tell stories we can learn from and stories we can re-tell. I do not care what anybody says or thinks, but I personally can listen to farming stories all the time because they can provide a good laugh and/or a good life lesson.
- Not only are they men who are generally respected, they are also those who are highly respected in their specific industries, communities and families. A vast majority of farmers/ranchers that I have been around have always been so respected and respectful. They are respected because of their dedication to their farm – both land and livestock. It is one of their top priorities and their daily lives prove that.
- They are teachers. The farming/ranching man is a person you can always learn something from, whether it is your dad, grandpa, significant other, employer or a good friend. You can ride around with them in the farm truck while feeding, working alongside them fixing fence, or even while you are helping them out with daily chores, they can tell you about their past experiences to help show you a concept or teach a lesson. They are the type of person you can spend a day with and learn an abundance of knowledge about farming and life in general. And when the opportunity arises for you to speak and/or spend time with them again, you do not miss the opportunity.
- The few who live a lifestyle when a little stubbornness is required and expected. You see, each farming/ranching man has their own way of doing things. No matter how absurd, strange and weird their methods may be, that is their way and you are not going to change their mind. This then proves that no two farmers are alike – they all are unique in the way they run their operation. They will work at fixing something until the job is done no matter how long it takes. And even though you may have a suggestion of a way things are done, they will still choose to try it their way which means sometimes learning the hard way. ;)
- When you think about the farming men in your lives you cannot think about how they are truly part of a tight-knit community. Every small town and rural area has a local “hangout” for the farmers to come together and talk about anything and everything. You are also amazed at the fact that they can be anywhere (whether it’s the feed store, the local Walmart or a farm show) and find at least one person they know which then lead to a lengthy conversation. They drive their families crazy sometimes; however, it just proves that their livelihoods lead to friendships they cherish.
- Ultimate family man. To me, this trait right here is really what makes the farming/rancher man stand so high above the others. I am always truly amazed by the lengths these men take to provide for their families. They work tirelessly so their wives and kids can have the things they need. They drive their families to church every Sunday, they bust their tails to make their kids’ events and they be sure to leave a night or two open to take their woman out on the town. They are the type that girls like me want to settle down and raise a family with and the type that younger men want to grow up to be like.
Obviously, more can be said about the role the farming man plays in every operation and family. They are an integral part of the agricultural industry (fellow women, don’t you worry because we are too). For generations, they have worked to build foundations of farming heritage that continue to thrive today.
So, be sure to thank those farming men you know. Be sure to appreciate all they do. They really are one-of-a-kind and as I mentioned before, really outstanding in their fields.
Until next time…
Thank your farmer, and God Bless!
I know this is already lengthy, but I also wanted to provide a glimpse of who inspired me to write this blog. See below:
Now about those men who I have grown up with and learned from… My dad was a hard-working dairy farmer. He milked the cows, fed hay, fixed fence, maintained the equipment, helped neighbors when needed – the list can go on and on. He did all this while still teaching school, followed his three daughters around and driving us to church every Sunday morning. He is also the man I watched get super emotional when our cows left our driveway after our farm dispersal and the man who almost refuses to leave the farm he has called home the past twenty-five years. Even though the dairy farming days are behind him, he still puts up hay, takes care of the few heifers/steers we have left, helps with horses and is still in the education system teaching high school kids about agriculture and being an FFA advisor. Recently, he was diagnosed with cancer and has undergone surgery. During this time, I realized just how much he has contributed to my family’s farm and began to appreciate more what he does for me and my family. Luckily, the surgery was successful so thank God for that.
Also, both of my grandfathers have greatly inspired me. My Grandpa Bos was a very successful and highly-respected dairy farmer who immigrated to the United States from Holland following WWII. He came here with nothing and then ended up in Missouri where he developed a state-of-the-art dairy farm and became a well-known dairy farmer. He passed away in 1994 due to a heart attack in a field on the farm he loved so much. My Grandpa Fulp still continues to milk cows today. He raised four daughters – three of which went on to help manage dairy farms of their own along with their husbands. He has battled colon cancer, tumors in his brain, a broken back and several other forms of sickness. He would always still make it outside to make sure things on the farm were still running smoothly. Today, he still wakes up every morning and milks his cows, feeds his calves/pigs and works long hours in the fields and his garden.
These men have really inspired and influenced me in so many ways. I am so thankful to be able to call them family.❤