So God Made A Farmer – What About the Modern Farm?

I’m not a big football fan but I do love spending time with my husband.  My husband watches one football game a year on TV, and that’s the Super Bowl.  Many of my friends tell me how lucky I am that Kevin doesn’t watch more sports on TV.  I think I’m lucky because my sweet farmer fell in love with me!  I am like a lot of other people, I watch the Super Bowl for the half time show and the commercials.  This year though, I wanted to watch the game because the Ravens had Michael Oher playing for them.  The movie the ‘Blind Side’ was based on his life.  Michael was adopted by the Tuohy family in Tennessee and they helped Michael grow in many ways, mostly just by loving him and giving him a place to call home.  (I love that movie because it reminds me there is still a lot of good in the world today!)  I wanted to watch the game last night so I could see Michael achieve something many men only dream about, playing in the Super Bowl.

Imagine my surprise though when during the fourth quarter of the game, a commercial came on with Paul Harvey’s voice reciting part of a speech he made to the FFA called ‘So God Made a Farmer.”  Ram Trucks (Dodge) was paying tribute to the farmers in our country.  I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears.  I have seen a similar tribute and it always brings tears to my eyes.  Last night was no exception.   I had poor cell phone reception last night so I couldn’t access my internet but I saw this morning that Twitter and Facebook were buzzing with positive comments about the commercial.  I wasn’t the only one who liked the commercial!  THANK YOU Ram trucks for the great tribute to farmers!

Then a good friend of mine forwarded a blog they found posted on a major network’s internet page.  From what I can tell someone posted this blog on the network’s page, it wasn’t put there by the network.  This blog was negative about the tribute to farmers because the author didn’t think it was representative of farmers today.  Quoting the blog author:  Firstly, it’s all well and good to wax poetic about how hard farmers work. But that isn’t really what farming is anymore, at least not where meat production is concerned. Farms don’t consist one hard-working man and his children. Anymore, the meat that makes its way into our grocery stores comes from factory farms.”  The blog author goes on to point out not all farmers are bad, just those who raise meat in factories or confinement.  Too bad the author didn’t watch our YouTube video before she wrote her post about how hogs were raised in modern barns.   

The blog author is the granddaughter of a farmer who is now in his 90’s.  I would love to sit down and visit with the author because I think we have a lot in common.  I am also the granddaughter of two farmers; one who lived to be 95 and who lived during the Great Depression.  He saw many changes to agriculture throughout his years.  He used horses and tractors to plow his fields.  Neither one of my grandfathers raised hogs like we do today in modern hog barns.  As a matter of fact, one of my grandfather’s quit raising hogs because of the parasites in the soil on his farm.  No matter what he tried, he couldn’t get rid of the parasites that lived in the soil.  His hogs would always get ill and his death loss was higher than it should be.  He was losing more money than he could make so he stopped raising hogs on the family farm.  When he came and visited our farm the first thing he said to me was, “If I had raised my hogs in clean barns like these I might still be in the hog business today.  You don’t have the parasite problem I fought for so many years.”  Grandpa wasn’t upset that we had found a different way to care for our hogs and prevent this parasite problem, he was proud of the work agriculture had done to improve the living environment for our hogs.  My grandpa was proud of my husband and his family for sticking with the hogs and finding a way to persevere the difficulties of raising leaner hogs on dirt.  That’s right, today’s hogs are leaner than hogs were 30 or 40 years ago, that’s another reason farmers are using modern barns because hogs have a lot less body fat than the hogs my grandfather used to raise.

If I could visit with the author of this blog, I would tell her about the history of our family farm.  I would explain to her we started out raising fat bodied hogs on dirt lots.  Most importantly, I would tell her our family farm is just that, a family farm.  We own our hogs, we own our land and we live and work on our farm every day.  There are three different families working on our farm (4th & 5th generation) and our full income comes from the farm, we have no off-farm jobs.  We are in control of the decision making on our farm.  Sure, our barns look different than my grandfather’s barns did, but we hold the same values our ancestors did.  We also have the same concerns our ancestors had, “will there be enough rain to raise a crop, will the hog check be enough to pay my feed bill, and will I have enough left over to make the next farm payment?”

At the end of the day, I am proud of the work my family does.  And I am PROUD to be raising the 6th generation of farmers in our family on our farm.  I know that in 30 years our farm will not look like it does today because our children will bring new changes to our farm thanks to technology and their own innovation.  And that’s what I want people to understand, our farms have to change and improve if we are going to pass the farm on to our children.  I know it’s confusing to people who don’t work in agriculture to understand the changes that we have made, I get that it looks scary because it’s not what they see on TV.  I promise though, any change we make is to improve the quality of care we give to our hogs and land.  Healthy hogs make healthy food and I feed my kids the same pork I raise for my neighbors and friends.  (And I love my kids more than anything on this earth!)  Prevention is the key to healthy animals, that’s why we moved our hogs indoors so we could prevent problems from occurring.  I don’t blame the author of the blog for having misconceptions about farms like mine…I do hope she finds a farmer to talk to though so she can at least learn more about the changes that have taken place on the farm in the last 20 years.  Communication is the key to mutual respect.   Please, don’t be afraid to ask a farmer why they have made changes on their farm, we don’t bite!  I’d rather someone ask me first-hand about my farm than to assume they already know the answer because they read it on the internet or they heard it from a friend.  ASK A FARMER, we love to talk about our farms and family!

And thanks again to Ram for bringing the farmer into the homes of the people we love to feed!

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About Chris Chinn

My husband, Kevin, and I are 5th generation farmers. We live on our family hog farm in Missouri with our two children. Our dream is that our children will have the opportunity be the 6th generation of farmers in our family.
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30 Responses to So God Made A Farmer – What About the Modern Farm?

  1. Maddee says:

    Fabulous post as usual!

  2. I totally agree. I had the same thought that maybe that commercial didn’t accurately portray today’s specific farmer – but I don’t think that’s what it was meant to do. I think it was meant as more of a general description of the type of person a farmer is – something that hasn’t changed in many years.

    • Chris Chinn says:

      I agree Jamie – I think the commercial was just a reminder that farmers care, plain and simple, we care! Farmers are no different than other people in other careers, we all want to do a good job at what we do.

  3. I’m just thankful for Dodge giving a positive portrayal of us food producers. So many people have lost touch with where their food comes from. The farmers in our area work their guts out–so what if they don’t shoe horses with pieces of rubber tire anymore? We can still do quite a bit with baling wire. :-)
    Thought you did a great post.

    • Chris Chinn says:

      Thanks for your input, I appreciate it! And your right, we can do a lot with baling wire and duct tape! Kevin wrapped his boots in duct tape and wore it like that for weeks until he found the time to buy new boots! The kids couldn’t believe it worked as good as it did!

  4. Pingback: Dodge RAM pays Super Bowl tribute with “So God made a Farmer” | Agriculture Proud

  5. Jesse Sumner says:

    Chris, what a great post. I love the way you balance the passion you have without seeking out a fight with the opposition. You are truly gifted and we (Pork Board) need to support your efforts. I have not seen or read a more compelling argument supporting our industry. No veterinarian’s testimonial can compare. You don’t argue, you simply articulately state facts.

    ________________________________

    • Chris Chinn says:

      Thank you Jesse, I appreciate your comments, I really do. It’s important to have people sharing our stories about what happens on our farms, the next generation of farmers are depending on us to get it right!

  6. Marissa says:

    I wish more people understood the truth of what you write. I was raised on a family farm with the meat being “supplemental” income. But all the farms around us were multi-generational. Now when I see the video’s put out by PETA and other organization I realize that someone needs to catch them at fraud. I’ve seen a few outright lies about what is going on in a picture, video or description of farms. If people only knew the tender, loving care most farmers have for their animals and their families. I remember warming calves in our bathtub and daddy rescuing poor rats clinging for life in a cow tank in our far field. God made everything in life to have a season and a purpose. Yes, the purpose of animals is often food, but there is alot of good that comes from raising animals for food. I’m constantly bombarded with advertisements and negative things about farms….that when I saw this video….it made me proud to think of all the generations in my family that have struggled to live the simple life, and how far we have come still trying to “keep it simple”.

    • Chris Chinn says:

      Marissa – your are so right! I loved your story! Your dad is a very compassionate man to save a rat, I’m scared of rats even though I am a lot bigger than rats are! I normally run in the opposite direction screaming if I see one! Some things I may never conquer and my fear of mice and rats is probably one of them! Thanks for your comments.

  7. Brian says:

    The tools of modern farming may be different, but the sentiments still ring true.

  8. Jo says:

    That commercial made me sooooo proud to have been raised on our family farm and even prouder to be a FARMER’S DAUGHTER! My Dad’s farm in Iowa had a Century Farm celebration this past summer. My younger brother is the third generation to raise his family on that farm.
    We showed the commercial to many farmers today on our computer at our Vet Office who did not see it last night because they are early to bed and early to rise farmers. All were quite taken back with the commercial and all said, “well, thank you Dodge”! A few even stated that the just may buy a Dodge when they are due for a new truck! Each one of them were were so appreciative to Dodge for recognizing the importance of the past and present farmers!
    Farmers are not only the “back bone of our country”, but they also FED THE WORLD!
    THANK YOU FARMERS!

    • Chris Chinn says:

      Thanks for sharing that with me Jo! It was a great commercial and it touched so many people, even if you aren’t a farmer! Congrats to you for helping share the story, I appreciate you doing that! It takes all of us working together to spread the story! You have a neat story to share, keep sharing it!

  9. Connie Finton, Ohio dairy farmer says:

    Thanks Chris for taking the time to write this. I am a dairy farmer and have spent time speaking to groups for the past few years about what we do and why we do it…many of your statements hit home with me. People want to know what / why we do things..so we need to tell them. Our cows are special to us…but they are cows, not people and they do provide us a good living and willl as long as we treat them well.. I had heard the Paul Harvey piece several times before, but it still brought tears to my eyes….I think most all of us are PROUD to be farmers

  10. rc says:

    Chris,
    That was the only Pro game I watched this entire season. My wife actually had the game on to watch the commercials. I was in and out but when I heard Paul Harvey’s voice my ears perked up and I heard the word Farmer I immediately left my computer in my study and went to the television. As I was listening to the piece, my chest started to swell just a bit.
    As a Farmer, it always has bothered me that so many misunderstood. I do not live on a factory farm. We take care of our Land, we take care of our Livestock, why, because we love both and if we don’t take care of them they will not take care of us. I had a sow many years ago that averaged 12 pigs weaned a litter for 10 litters in a row, she was treated like a Queen on our Farm, all our sows were. Our land is much better than now due to better tillage methods, we have conservation buffer borders along the river. We practice better habitat methods for wildlife and post some our land so migrating wildlife have a place to rest and feed on rice and soybeans. I don’t look at myself owning this land, as our fellow Native American ancestors, I consider myself a steward of this land and nature. My goal is to leave it better than when I found it, I am teaching my Son’s to do the same. Thank You Chris for your part in making others aware and Thank You and Your Family for your commitment to the future of Agriculture.
    rc – arkansas delta

    • Chris Chinn says:

      RC – I couldn’t have said it any better, you said what is in the heart and soul of every farmer! Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them. Keep sharing that message too, it came straight from your heart, we need more of that.

  11. Pingback: Emotion Catches Attention & Gives Reason to Share a Message: Social Media Told Ag’s Story on Super Bowl Sunday | The Field Position

  12. Reblogged this on JenREESources's Extension Blog and commented:
    Great comments from Chris Chinn regarding the Paul Harvey Poem “So God Made A Farmer” and how it applies to the Modern Farm!!!

  13. Pingback: So God Made A Farmer – What About the Modern Farm? | chrischinn « nebraskaenergyobserver

  14. I think the whole “family farm” moniker and the negative things it connotes that has been placed on American agriculture is a sad testament to our sound-byte society. I wish I knew a way to forever shut down these kinds of attacks and get people to see just what it is you so eloquently explain throughout your blog and elsewhere.
    I’m not a farmer or a rancher. I’m simply a consumer who understands American agriculture and has been privileged to be exposed to farmers and ranchers throughout an Ag media career.
    I think the Dodge ad — or as some have called, the “Paul Harvey” ad — was well-produced and a great marketing decision on Dodge’s part. I sincerely hope that Dodge’s decision here will grow into a great movement across America to nurture and promote American agriculture.
    As a consumer who didn’t grow up on a farm, I appreciate what you do. Thank you.

    • Chris Chinn says:

      Thanks for your support Todd, I appreciate your input. I wish we didn’t have to worry about attacks on agriculture too, maybe one day my kids won’t have to endure this. Keep talking, together we will make a differnce!
      Chris

  15. Larry says:

    Your just a salt of the earht person God Bless you Chris Chinn

  16. Pingback: So God Made A Farmer – What About the Modern Farm? « Traveling Shoes

  17. Great post Chris! We only raise crops on our farm, so I am very grateful for the farmers like you that are willing to put in the sweat equity to raise the animals my family and I enjoy consuming to nourish our bodies. I am also anxious to see what you and your three comrades do with the NFRA compaign to share the great story of agriculture! I know you really inspired my husband George and I at a YFR conference several years ago that we need to start a proactive campaign to tell the great story of modern agriculture – we’re behind you 100%!!

    • Chris Chinn says:

      Carly – thank you for sharing this with me, you made my day brighter! Thanks for helping to tell the agriculture story with me! We have a good team standing with us I think!

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