There’s something iconic about a flannel shirt, work boots, and blue jeans. At least, to me. That’s because I remember my dad dressing like that growing up. Top it off with a cheesy trucker hat or baseball cap, and you’d have the complete get-up. But what is a proper “uniform” for a farmer? There really isn’t such a thing…or maybe there are many?
I sit here at my suburban college today wearing “soulmate hat,” as I call it. My nasty, paint-covered, sun-faded, much-loved and well-formed baseball cap. People give it weird looks. My roommate today actually asked me, “What is ON YOUR HEAD?” (Granted, she’s a fashionista, so a baseball cap alone is a no-no in her eyes…especially not one of the character I’m referring to.) This is my farm hat, my favorite hat in the world.
This hat has been with me through endless amounts of animal poo, equipment paint, dust, dirt, soap, seed-corn, and has even gotten spit on by angry llamas and alpacas. I guess you could say it’s part of my “farm uniform.” But there are other outfits that are a must. Work jeans, yes. The boots that keep me from breaking an ankle as I jump in out of tractors and trip over corn stalks. Even the hanky I keep with me at all times.
I also consider my polos a part of my uniform. My FFA alumni polo, and a few others. Once, my “uniform” included a blue jacket with a huge gold emblem on the back, and the words, “Kelly Rivard, President” on the front.
There isn’t a farmer out there who doesn’t have the same situation. Suits for business meetings, polos for networking and business-casual affairs, khaki’s for when appearance matters a bit more than functionality.
Today, while I wear my favorite hat, I’m reminded of the many hats farmers wear. It’s important to remember that farmers who wear coveralls or flannel or nasty worn-out hats are the same men and women who wear suits and negotiate with the banks. They are the manual labor and the managers, the CEO’s and the cowboys. It’s the same people, just a different outfit.