God Made a Farmer

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So, God made a farmer.

The day after the Super Bowl, I received an e-mail from the daughter of a business connection:

“Good day, Mr. Cauffman. When I saw this commercial last night, I thought this was the perfect complement to what PAN stands for, and you are already on it. Very powerful images and message …”

I clicked the link. It was the “God Made a Farmer” ad from Dodge that aired during the Super Bowl. From the first second, I was touched. Images of sun-hardened faces with the voice of Paul Harvey exclaiming, “So, God made a farmer.” Tears streamed from my eyes. To say I was moved emotionally would be an understatement.

“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 await 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.

Thoughts swirled through my head. Could anybody care enough about farmers to put such a well-crafted tribute in a Super Bowl ad? Could this young girl from the big city, whom I had never met, have any idea about farmers or what we do? Does she have an interest in knowing? Has it come to be, finally, that farmers are important?

I ruminated on these questions as I watched the video again … again … and again.

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.

My mind drifted back to another time, a time when farmers worked unappreciated … a time when we were viewed as being the lowest of the low, like serfs in the 15th Century. A time when children – like me – were discouraged from pursuing a farming career, being told it was a waste of time. A time when farms were left behind for salaried, 40-hour week lifestyles behind a desk …

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.

Farmers don’t stop when the traditional work week is over. It’s not just a career. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a calling. It’s a passion inside that won’t change or lessen when we’re away from the farm. It’s a blessing to be able to tend to our animals, to spend long hours gathering crops, to bale hay and to care about everything that comes along with life on a farm.

It’s knowing that what you do keeps your community going … because most of what we have can be traced back, in some way, to a farm.

The animals and crops you tend to, the hard work that produces blood, sweat and tears, all of it is necessary to care for the people of our world. It may go unnoticed; we don’t do it for the attention or notoriety. We do it because it’s a calling, an innate urge to ensure that our resources and products are there to feed and clothe our communities – whether it’s producing a steak and salad for dinner, or creating that perfect mohair sweater for someone out there.

Farming is hard work.

Farming is part of what makes America great.

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.

I’ve heard the Paul Harvey narration before. It was originally delivered in 1978, during an address to the Future Farmers of America. Now, it has so much more meaning as I’ve found another calling: telling our farmers’ stories to the people that want to know what makes PAN fashions unique. And this video, with its images of rough, rugged farmers, powerfully projects the special story of how much farmers care and love what they do.

“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.

The last part of Mr. Harvey’s speech speaks of something close to my heart. PAN and the farm are both family oriented; my son and daughter both assist in various capacities. To have them share in my vision and love of agriculture gives me more joy than I could ever express in words. I believe it will carry through to their children, and that farming will always be a Cauffman family way of life.

Thank you, God, for making me a farmer.

– Glen Cauffman, 2013