Paul Harvey strung the heart strings of many as he poetically explained life as a farmer as written below.
“And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.
“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.
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’d 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 he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.”
So God made a farmer, a rancher, an ag teacher, a veterinarian, and many more. What strings these agriculturalists together, their common trend or tradition is something passed down from generation to generation, it is something taught in the home and out on the job especially, it is something that is much admired and not easily obtained, it is an agriculturalists work ethic.
Work ethic is something that provides performance, progression, satisfaction, and a healthy balance in life. It is waking up early in the morning with a plan, getting to business, and working until you are tired enough for a good night’s rest, which as an agriculturalist, may not be available to you every night! Though the work is tough and often requires a diligent personality, I believe that a good work ethic is extremely rewarding, that it even provides happiness.
I notice that the happiest people are also the busiest people, those who accomplish something or many things each day. Being an agriculturalist calls for a big to do list and many things to get done during the day and even when the sun is nowhere to be seen in the sky, during the night. It is not that I see agriculturalists who are happy all day and life is just perfect as a peach, in fact I often find my own father down about the weather, and worried about the time it takes to repair equipment, maybe the cattle had gotten out, or the crop prices are down. But, I have never seen someone happier than when a successful c-section is performed on a cow, or when harvest is completed, or when they are able to view their own products on the shelves at grocery stores.
The funny part about all of this is that as normal people, we all seek rest and relaxation, but what I have realized is that there is no such thing as rest and relaxation if there is no labor. We do not appreciate the easy things if there are no difficulties. Life is all about balance.
Tradition is something that is handed off to others, as young FFA members it is our responsibility to make sure that we welcome the agriculturalists work ethic into our own lives. It can make us productive, successful, satisfied, balanced, and happy. Let us carry on this work ethic as a gift to ourselves, who wouldn’t want to be happy?
Sundee S., Oregon FFA State Reporter