Tuesday, May 24, 2011

#13 - Definition of a Farmer

Like a hot political debate, some people are ready to pop a vessel in their effort to defend their personalized definition of a farmer.

First Harvest of the Year.
Like my husband says, I was conducting a dangerous activity, I was thinking...Does having the official title of "Farmer" have to do with the amount of land you own? Or, does it have to do with how many animals you own? What about the variety of animals? Maybe it has something to do with whether or not you raise your own animals on the farm for personal consumption? Could it be that a person has to be farming for a certain time-frame before they can be dubbed a "farmer?" What about the people who don't grow crops, but have some animals...Are they a farmer?

Love our vine-ripened tomatoes.
In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a "Farmer" is defined as a person who cultivates land or crops or raises animals.

David prepping another area of the garden for more seedlings.
After several weeks of reading many different farm blogs, one prevalent fact is true, most farmers are supportive of other farmers. It doesn't matter whether they are a small farmer, commercial farmer, backyard farmer or want-to-be farmer...they all seem to be peaceful, helpful, even delightful people with an above average ability to be joyful and wise.

Hidden treasures all throughout our garden.
 However, I came across a man's blog the other day and he is a self-proclaimed "big-time" farmer. He has many employees and has many different kinds of animals that he raises strictly for commercial purposes. He openly talks bad about the small time farmer, as if they really aren't farmers at all because they are not living off of their produce on a commercial level. He also seems to think that if you have 5 sheep, you cannot understand how to raise sheep, unless you are like him and have 100. He owns hundreds of acres and thinks that people with small patches of land are not farmers at all. What? Is he serious?

A fun Backyard Farm animal.
He continued to rant and rave about how a farm should look --- according to angry farmer man, your farm is doomed to be ugly and industrial looking, messy and never picturesque. He said that anyone expecting their farm to look decent is not in the real world. He said any farm that looks a tad appealing is not even a farm. Well, I know people who have farms and they do have ugly spots here and there, but overall, their place is a dream. Their dream.

Fresh sweet basil ---- gotta have loads of this goodness for our weekly fresh pesto.
Well...I guess Mr. Commercial Arrogant Farmer was was making his own narrow definition for a farmer. Problem is, he's wrong. Merriam-Webster disagrees and I think I'll listen to the ultimate source for definitions rather than this one man's bloated ranting. Besides, his definition is a bit too self-serving.

Raising a little farmer niece.
So, my conclusion is that a true farmer is one who loves his land, his animals and his way of life. The barn might be leaning a bit, but it's still a work of art. The old tractor may not start, but it's a part of his history. The fence might need a coat of paint, but it is weathered and has character. He may not have as many animals as he did in his younger days, but he still runs the farm with the same old dedication. He'd tell you that farming is about taking some land and making it work for you and the animals and the multi-task all day long, from being a mechanic to repair broken machinery to sitting for hours on a tractor and talking with God. A woman on the farm is so in-tuned with her animals that she knows when a cow or goat or sheep is about to give birth and she is right there the entire time to welcome the new addition to the farm, face to face. A farmer has a big heart, a lot of dedication, a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day and he is prepared for the best and worst in life.

My niece visiting and being able to do her favorite things, tending to the crops and chickens.
So, Mr. Commercial Arrogant Farmer, go ahead and keep judging others by their assets...comparing them to your hundreds of holding pens and big transporting trucks and all those hired hands...because it seems that you may have actually forgotten what it means to be a farmer. I do see a huge difference between a cold, detached commercial farmer and the farmer who has met every animal on his property and has seen the chickens laying eggs on his land and he likes to tend to his crops. He is more in touch with his land on a personal level than any other big business person could comprehend and he still does pretty darn good.

Seed potatoes. I think.
Finally, I am a Backyard Farmer and am proud of it! I am trying to keep working so that I may one day soon live on my acreage so I can do this farming stuff full-time, but I am starting right here, right now, in the city. And, I am glad to own the silly title of Backyard Farmer! In fact, I embrace the title just to irritate Mr. Commericial Arrogant Farmer. My backyard here in the city might be pretty small, but I am still raising animals and tending daily to my crops, so I guess I meet the definition of a "Farmer."

I think I just heard Mr. Commercial Arrogant Farmer's vessel go POP!


Rae said...

Wonderful post, and I totally agree with you! :)

I'd be interested in reading the "arrogant farmer's" rant if you'd be willing to email me his blog link. I don't think of myself as a farmer, but I do love our animals and our property, trees, and garden. I'm curious what Mr Farmer thinks about the many settlers of this country, that raised enough meat, eggs, grains, and produce for their own families and animals, with only a little left over to trade/sell for other staples (cloth, salt, seed, etc). Were they farmers?

LindaG said...

Great post!
I think pretty much all food problems nowadays are because of Mr. Commercial Arrogant Farmer and those like him.
Have a good evening! :)

Deedee said...

New follower looking forward to reading your blog! Loving it so far. I think Mr. Arrogant Farmer is well-named. Gr! How does he think farming started? Farming is a lifestyle in my opinion,and employees and equipment make you a business manger, not necessarily a farmer.

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

I had been reading a ton of blogs and came across his, after reading a few entries and his clear anger at anyone with a small bit of land calling themselves a "farmer," I felt my blood pressure go up, so I moved on. I wished I would've written down his link address - we could've all paid him a united visit, but I kept moving onward and had to keep telling myself that his arrogance wasn't worth it. Maybe he did it on purpose...I wonder...

Rae said...

Might have. Rants and controversial subjects do tend to drive up the number of hits on a blog.

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Rae, you are right. I think he was angry at his neighbors who he said "claimed" to be farmers. Can you imagine having that kind of neighbor? Augh.

Lana C. said...

P.S. P.S. -- Rae, I am looking thru my hand-written journel to see if I jotted down his blog address. If I find it, I'll send it to you too. I must be ready for more high blood pressure...ha ha.