Occupation: Farmer

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Our Farm

The other day my wife and I were filling out some paperwork for this and that to change address’ to our new house here on the farm in Nebraska from moving from Oklahoma City.  I was going through them with her and it came to the Spouse section.  She filled everything out and didn’t ask a question which was odd I thought, she usually asks for my social or something.  She got done and told me to make sure she filled it our right, so I ran through it all and when I got to the portion for me where it said “Occupation of Spouse” she had written Farmer.  To most you’re thinking; well duh, you’re a farmer, but for the past 4 years I have been “Self Employed” because I did all sorts of things from electrical to plumbing, drywall to automotive repair.  I told her, you put farmer, you sure you don’t want to put self-employed?  The next sentence that came from her will forever be stuck in my head!

She said, without a thought to it, “You’re a farmer, and I’m a farmer’s wife, and I’m more proud to say that my husband is a farmer than I am to say anything else!”

Wow, my wife, the born and raised city slicker is proud to be a farmer’s wife!  If that don’t fill a guy’s heart, nothing will.  I don’t have a kid around that is old enough to say ” I wanna be a farmer like my daddy” so I’m just guessing here, but I think the feelings are the same on both occasions.  My wife, Ashley, was born in North Carolina, grew up in California, Colorado, and Oklahoma City.  She has never had the time to actually “be on a farm” prior to marrying me, when I say farm, I mean cattle, tractors, equipment, late night working, smell of diesel fuel, greasy hands, and a pair of jeans that only make it one day type of farm.  To hear this woman standing in front of me tell me that she is proud to be a farmer’s wife is still just being played in repeat in the back of my head.  Every time I look at her, I see a woman that is happy to be in rural Nebraska, on MY family farm, and with me!

After I was able to swallow what she had just told me, I had to ask her why she says that.  She told me that being a farmer is something to be proud of.  Lots of people work to put food on their table every day, but you work to make that food that people work for to put on their table.  You are the beginning of the food chain.  Because of farmers like you, your dad, and every other hard working farmer out there, we get to eat!  If it wasn’t for a farmer, there wouldn’t be life.  I would be happy to say that you are a CEO of a fortune 500 company, but that would only be happy.  A farmer……. that I am PROUD to state!  And when friends ask me why I would move to the middle of no-where to live on a farm, I told them I did it so they could enjoy their next meal and a family farm could make it another generation.

It’s not very often that you can say the word farmer and see someone smile with such sincerity and honor as I see from her.  I remember going to school as a kid in the city and when I was asked by the teachers “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  And with a quick reply and without hesitation I would say I want to be a farmer like my Dad.  All around you would hear kids snickering and pointing like being a farmer was something to be ashamed of.  They stunk, had missing teeth, couldn’t talk, I’m sure they were even accused of being the monster under a kids bed.  So fast forward 20 years, and to always think of a farmer as being that outcast in the crowd, the guy with the dirty ball cap sitting by himself in the stands at the football game.  The guy with hands as hard as steel that others would just nod as a greet rather than shake his hand.  To now be THAT GUY………. well, that my friends is one hell of a great feeling!

This has been bounced around in my head for the past few days, trying to figure out how to say it and still keep my Man Card.  But after so long, I had to just spit it out the way it all was said and how it all unfolded that day.  So if I lose my Man Card for this one, I understand, but it was definitely worth it!

  1. This story is simply amazing. It should be required reading for all farm bloggers on how to write a post. Thank you for sharing what was on your heart.

  2. Robyn says:

    Awesome blog post! I found it through FarmnWife Judi. Your words are so passionate, so are those of your wife. I think these are the emotions most farmers and ranchers feel. Otherwise we would not be doing what we do. Thank You for sharing this story.

    Oh, and while filling out those types of papers I always put Rancher-Self Employed for my husband’s occupation.

  3. Brian says:

    I love meeting new people because at some point they will ask what you do for a living, and I get to say I’m a farmer. In my experience telling people that has been quite positive and usually ends up being followed by a bunch more questions about agriculture.

    When my wife and I fill out forms occasionally for various things they sometimes ask your annual or monthly income. There never seems to be a box you can check that says “I don’t know.”

    • okcableguy says:

      And that is so true. I always look for the box that says “other” but that box is always after that $1million or Greater line and so “other” just doesn’t seem right…

  4. Seems like you earned another Man Card not lost it. Great post! I am a farmer’s daughter and farmer’s granddaughter and proud to say that too.

  5. I shared this on the North Dakota Farm Bureau wall today because I thought it was so well-written and touching. Thank you.

  6. Glad to have you back on the family farm! The last generation worked hard at telling their kids to do something more “worthwhile” with your time. There’s nothing more worthwhile than feeding the world and being a part of a lifestyle like non other! Great posting!

  7. And…welcome back to the great state of Nebraska!

  8. Kent Braathen says:

    I also enjoyed the post and had to share it! The more we can educate the public about the importance of Agriculture in this country the better off we will be. I can relate to what Brian said in the above post about meeting new people, when they ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a Custom Harvester the questions start flowing!

  9. Glad to see some more Nebraska farmers blogging!

  10. McLerranMD says:

    I could not have read a better post about this cause there was a time that like your wife I too was a city girl and even said that my husband (a farmer) did not have a career – now having learned a bit more since then… I too am proud to say that my husband is a farmer. I also don’t ask what to put on that line on forms any more… Thanks for a great post.

  11. […] latest and so far most viewed blog “Occupation: Farmer” was just a simple blog that I almost didn’t write because it seemed to emotional for a […]

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