Monday, June 11, 2012


"This too shall pass."

Usually I am mild mannered and while something might bother me today it won’t tomorrow so I tend not to give it much attention....this too shall pass.  However, once in a while things tend to stick in my craw.  To some it might be mundane but this time it is the definition of farmer. 


Last Wednesday, I was reading an article which stated that they (writer and family) could not afford to eat their lamb or eggs as doing so meant less to sell which took monies away from the hay and feed bill.  I guess the farm was for production and not consumption.  The writer spoke in a tone of disgust on the very nerve of  just anyone with a garden and a couple of chickens thinking of themselves as a farmer.  Nose in the air about the whole “know your farmer and where your food comes from” movement with stupid questions, and hobby farmers who don’t require a profit to stay in business and even worse are those whom buy starter flocks from them only to become competitors.

Well damn where to start…
Wikipedia  defines a farmer as a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including including livestock, husbandry, and growing crops, such as produce and grain.  But some will argue that Wikipedia is not a reliable source so moving on....

Merriam Webster defines a farmer as a person who cultivates land or crops or raises animals (as livestock or fish)

Business Dictionany defines a farmer as an individual whose primary job function involves livestock and/or agriculture.

Not one single definition mentions how much land has to be cultivated or how many animals one has to raise in order to have this esteemed title.  And I didn’t see a thing where it said you weren’t a farmer unless you made a profit.

So far as the “know your farmer”, “know where your food comes from”, locavore movement, it has saved many a farm.  Instead of condemning the very people they market too they should pull the pitchfork out of their sanctimonious ass and find out exactly what those annoying buyers want to buy and then they might be able to eat one of their own eggs.  Many businesses have gone south not because of a poor product but because of the owner’s themselves being small minded and arrogant.  Being bitchy about people coming to your farm and asking “stupid questions” is not a marketing technique I ever heard of.  I was always told there was no stupid question and it was better to ask than be ignorant.

If Mr. Lives down the road wants to buy a starter flock, the writer does not need to sell to them but can market the lambs for meat.  Mr. Lives down the road will buy from someone else and will still be their competitor.  If their product is as good as they think it is than it will speak for its self and any customer lost will return. However, if Mr. Lives down the road makes their flock/product better, markets it the right way and doesn’t talk about their clients like dirt bags than they will eventually shut the writer down.  The writer forgets that they became a competitor to whomever they bought their starter flock from also.

My family is a bunch of farmers.  We lay new/mend/replace fence lines, haul grain/hay/water, are there when lambs are born/chicks & ducks hatch, we give shots, shear, trim hooves, shovel shit, collect eggs, kill, pluck, skin and eviscerate animals.  We till, plant, weed, harvest and can/dehydrate/freeze a large garden.  The man works “off the farm” to provide the insurance and monies needed to operate the farm. There are very few farms around here on which both the husband and wife are able to stay home.  My farm is not profitable because I don’t choose to make it so.  My farm is for my consumption.  If I have extra I sell it.  However I think it is asinine to have chickens that lay eggs only to sell them and then take that money and go buy an inferior product. 

IMHO a farmer was just someone who raised animals/food for their own consumption and sold the extra.  I guess while I was busy shoveling shit I missed the post it that said one had to be self sacrificing in order to be a “farmer”.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Judy, I agree with you 100%. Back in the 80's and 90's, Lew and I were farmers, and we NEVER made a profit at it. We both worked full time outside of the home, to pay the bills, but we ate our own eggs, and butchered our own pigs, lambs, and beef steers. We also had a huge garden, for our own consumption. None of it paid the bills, but it sure made grocery buying a pleasure because we didn't buy much in actual food.

Any real farmer would have been offended by that article, and I feel that we were real farmers, as you are real farmers, and thousands of other farmers out there, that are not earning their living off their farms, but are keeping their families well fed. And we are the farmers that farm because love what we are doing, and don't abuse our livestock like those "profitable" farms do. That's not farming, that's manufacturing!!!

Loved the lovely blossoms in your earlier post. :)