The words of Paul Harvey reflecting a tribute to farmers made headlines this week when used in a Super Bowl ad.
I grew up on Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story. Listening to that smooth, one-of-kind voice I knew he must be the wisest person on earth (or so my parents and grandparents told me).
Today I am a proud American family farmer surviving in the world of giant, integrated farms where most of the small-scale farmers of my parents and grandparent’s generation are long gone from the land.
The process of centralization, industrialism, integration spurred the idea that was taught in my agricultural classes in the 70’s, “Get big or get out.” From 1940 to 1970 the farm population went from 30.8 million (18% of workers) to 9.7 million (4.6% workers). Today less than 1% of the population is involved in agriculture.
Wendell Berry’s classic the Unsettling of America spoke to the destruction of rural and farming communities in America.
Yet, today we see resurgence in the importance of the food we eat, the land on which we grow it and the people who produce it.
Part of my definition of sustainable has to do with a farm viable enough to allow the next generation to “come home to farm”. Success in my mind is not how much money is in the bank or how big your operation but if it is something to share and pass on. To date at Rain Crow our oldest three boys have returned to the farm operation.
They come with a refreshed, gutsy attitude about farming and I love it. Ready to take on the big guys by treading on new ground and going where the big Ag guys are unwilling or unable to go. This is met by a gutsy new consumer learning to ask the hard questions and demand something better.
The Peterson Farm Brothers say it well for this new generation of farmers and offer a modern video tribute to farming.
I applaud Dodge Ram’s wonderful use of Paul Harvey’s words with their millions spent on the advertising in the Super Bowl. However, these farm kids with a shoe string budget didn’t let their finances hold them back from reaching an international audience, too. With their sister as the camerwoman, they used YouTube to educate the world about the importance of farming.
The video of these three brothers has gone viral with multi-million views. They have promoted family farms in a way multi-millions of dollars of advertising could never have done.
The Petersons speak well for farm kids such as the Whisnants (5 boys and 1 girl).
According to Greg Peterson, “The goal was to shed some light on who we really were and how hard we work to feed the world. Big cities are just far removed from where food comes from.”