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The Last Windrow: You may be a farmer if...

A “Classic” Last Windrow by John Wetrosky

I usually write my own columns from scratch, but once in awhile someone will send me a script that prompts me to forward it as a part of my Last Windrow. My sister sent me such a column back in the 1980s when farm prices were suffering and interest was soaring. I enjoyed the column thoroughly and decided to add my little bit of salt to it at the end, so here it is:

A sense of humor comes in handy at times, especially if you’re a farmer.

Farming in the best of times isn’t easy or fun. Farming over the past year has been a challenge to many of our producers faced with declining prices and stagnant demand. Not much fun in all that, but my sister in South Sioux City, Neb., sent me a column that brought a smile to my face and if you’re a farmer or ever have been one, I think you’ll relate.

You may be a farmer if you have...

• Dogs that ride in your truck more than your wife

• Convinced your wife that an overnight, out-of-state trip for parts is a vacation

• Ever had to wash off in the backyard with a garden hose before your wife would allow you in the house

• Never thrown away a 5-gallon bucket

• Used baling wire to attach a license plate.

• Fibbed to a mechanic about how often you greased a piece of equipment

• Used a velvet plant’s leaves as toilet paper.

• Driven off the road while examining your neighbor’s crop.

• “Borrowed” gravel from the county road to fill potholes in your driveway.

• Buried your farm dog and cried like a baby.

• Used a tractor front-end loader as scaffolding for roof repairs.

I would like to add a few items that I, myself have found to be true. You may be a farmer if...

• You’ve ever stood back, admired a tractor tire and said, “My, ain’t that tread beautiful!”

• Your banker gets up from his chair to greet you personally at the front door

• You use the position of the sun more than your wristwatch to tell time.

• Your work boots look like they’ve been involved in a hit and run accident.

• The holes in the elbows of your flannel shirt match the holes in the knees of your pants.

• You think taking a day off means going to the co-op for fly spray.

• The price you pay for repair parts is more than you paid for the tractor.

• You can fix anything with a pliers, a crescent wrench and a piece of baling wire.

• You think a full course meal consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of chips, eaten with one hand while steering a combine with the other.

• You’re tired of hearing about working in all that “fresh air” and not having a boss!

I could go on. It is much easier to look at a farmer from the outside and comment on how and why we would do things differently. But, each day that a farmer pulls him or herself out from bed is a day filled with challenges and work. The small farms of my youth are but a distant memory and farmers today don’t have the luxury of being able to just sustain themselves on their land. They must make it produce. It is a huge task with huge risks.

But, one thing I do know, farmers generally have a sense of humor and it would be my hope that in times such as these, they draw on that humor to ease the tension and relieve the stress. We all need to laugh at ourselves once in awhile. 

See you next time. Okay?