I catch myself making generalizations a lot. I crack jokes about the “farm folks” and such, but there really is a type of stereotype around farmers. What are some of the stereotypical characteristics that “all” farmers have? And why do people assume they are this way?
Well, I for one have experience with farmers being stubborn. I date a farmer, my father was a born-and-bred farmer, I deal with farmers all the time. Most are headstrong, don’t-tell-me-my-business type guys. This doesn’t mean they’re jerks, necessarily. They’re just masters of tenacity, and don’t let others boss them around. (Most of them, however, will take kindly to suggestions if given in the right way.)
To counter-balance, most farmers that I know are polite. At least, when they have to be. The male farmers I know generally know how to open a door for a lady, and the lady farmers I know can really clean up and be proper when occasion calls. (While I’m not necessarily a farmER, I have been told I’m a farmGIRL. Over the weekend, I made the comment that I am not a “lady” and I got very seriously reprimanded about how well I clean up and behave when I need to!)
Farmers are outspoken. This isn’t always a bad thing. They’re just frank. They’ll say it like it is. They stand up for what they believe in and aren’t shy about it by any means. One of my favorite people when it comes to being outspoken is a farmer by the name of Tricia Braid Terry. She is not afraid to say what’s on her mind. Tricia is one of my personal heroes as far as bravery goes.
Of course, a farmer needs to be hard-working. This is just a basic “duh” item on the list. You can’t be a farmer and be lazy. Even a lazy farmer works harder than most average Americans.
But what about the things that farmers are NOT?
Well, they’re not dumb. Farmers need to know everything there is to know about everything they raise, animal and plant alike. A lot of farmers also work second (and sometimes even third) jobs to make ends meet. That creates more knowledge for farmers to know. Farmers also need to have great problem-solving and mechanical skills, since they usually end up doing their own emergency-servicing in the fields when equipment breaks down.
Farmers sure aren’t vindictive as a whole. There are bad eggs in every group. In fact, there are farmers who will go out there and undercut another farmer for rent, thus stealing their rented farmland. However, the farmer population as a group is not out there to get anyone. They don’t seek to kill the Earth. They don’t want to take over the business world or put each other out of business.
Farmers aren’t alike. They have plenty in common, yeah. But overall, no two farmers are exactly the same. They use different methods of growing, thinking, problem-solving, planning, and marketing. They grow organic or conventional, some even grow both. (I work for a commercial farm that does both.)
I was going to have some witty, moral-of-the-story type closing, but I lost it. I completely forgot what I was going to write here. It was all there, mapped out in my head, then I switched over to TweetDeck and saw that MACE THORNTON OF THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION is following me. And you know what? It’s his birthday. Happy Birthday, Mace.