The ad for Dodge Ram trucks, declares 2013 the “Year of the Farmer.” Harvey’s voice gives substance to the pictures of farmers at work and at home, using portions of a Harvey speech delivered at a Future Farmers of America convention in1978. Here’s the text:
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 willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, 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.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another 72 hours.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to yean lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint 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, weed, feed, bread and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile ride to church.
Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says that he wants to spend his life “doing what Dad does.” So God made a farmer.
The ad “went viral” on the Internet and came in third in the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter. Dodge, which partnered with Farms.com to produce the ad, will donate up to $1 million to Future Farmers of America.
A note about Paul Harvey’s integrity: In his newspaper column in 1986, he wrote that the “God Made a Farmer” essay had “arrived unsigned in my mailbox.” His efforts to trace the source had been futile and he speculated that “a farmer, perhaps more likely a farmer’s wife” was the source. The full text is available on the Utah Department of Agriculture website.
Another note: “yean lambs” refers to birthing lambs.