If you’re an artist, thank a farmer. If you’re a lawyer or business owner or teacher, thank a farmer. If you work at Wal-Mart, or an animal shelter, or the White House, thank a farmer. Because once upon a time you had two career choices– hunter or gatherer.
And then, some enterprising person discovered that you could plant seeds and grow food on purpose and in one place. Some early wanderer domesticated a few sheep or goats and settled down on the banks of a river. It was the beginnings of civilization itself, and it’s all thanks to farming.
This week our Farm Bureau is celebrating “Thank a Farmer” week. We talk a lot about how 100% of the people in this country eat food and how America’s farmers provide the safest, most abundant, most affordable food in the world. Which is pretty important stuff. But I was really struck at the American Farm Bureau meeting in San Antonio last month by the head of the USDA, Tom Villsack, when he spoke about the farmer being the cornerstone of civilization, because without someone to grow the food, no one gets to be anything else.
No computer programmers. No engineers. No fashion designers. Not even any McDonald’s employees.
The better farmers get at their jobs, the freer our nation becomes to pursue other avenues. Every advancement in technology means one more kid goes to college to be a writer or opens a garage to build hot rod cars.
You probably don’t have to look very far back your family tree to find a grandparent or great-grandparent who farmed. When Brian’s grandpa climbed up to the open seat of his combine his hard work provided 20 people with the food they needed, so they could focus on building roads and inventing microwaves. Today, on average, one farmer feeds 155 people. 155 people who can find a cure for cancer or dream up missions to Mars.
So today, if you dream of a fulfilling career, be glad it isn’t just a filling career, and thank a farmer.