by Melissa Brunner
Maybe it's my farming roots. Maybe it was the fact I was watching the Super Bowl at my father-in-law's house with his cattle in the pasture not far from the door. Maybe it was that, amidst all the noise of highly-produced ads and a glitzy halftime show, the quiet voice and simple images coming from the screen made me stop and really take notice.
The narration was a bit staticy, the images were mainly stills, dissolving from one to the next. At the end of two minutes, you learn what it's trying to sell - a Dodge Ram truck. For me, I was sold on the honor and integrity exhibited by the generations in my family who worked hard to maintain the family farm. And I was yet again impressed by all that's in the message that I see my father-in-law and his friends continuing to do to this day - baling hay, taming machinery, racing to help a neighbor in need. Yes, these are the folks with whom I'm proud to associate.
The "rest of the story," as they say, is that this was not the work of some high-paid Madison Ave. or Hollywood script writers. This was written and delivered by the late, great Paul Harvey. It was his voice and his speech, as delivered to the Future Farmers of America National Convention in 1978. A quick search today tells me the national FFA organization and FFA Foundation collaborated with Dodge on the ad, and Dodge will donate up to $1 million to the foundation based on the views received by the video.
If you haven't seen the ad, I posted it below, followed by the text of Harvey's speech. Next time you sit down to a meal, remember that your plate is full because "God made a farmer."
And on the 8th day God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker!". So, God made a farmer!
God said I need somebody to get up before dawn and milk cows and work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board. So, God made a farmer!
I need somebody with strong arms. Strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry and have to wait for lunch until his wife is done feeding and visiting with the ladies and telling them to be sure to come back real soon...and mean it. So, God made a farmer!
God said "I need somebody that can shape an ax handle, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And...who, at planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, pain'n from "tractor back", put in another seventy two hours. So, God made a farmer!
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop on mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So, God made a farmer!
God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees, heave bails and yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink combed pullets...and who will stop his mower for an hour to mend the broken leg of a meadow lark. So, God made a farmer!
It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight...and not cut corners. Somebody to seed and weed, feed and breed...and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody to replenish the self feeder and then finish a hard days work with a five mile drive to church. Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who'd laugh and then sigh...and then respond with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life "doing what dad does". So, God made a farmer!