Minnesota Farmer

God made a farmer

The Superbowl always gets some of the best commercials, but it is a given that all across farm country conversation ceased when the Dodge commercial in support of farmers came on.  The ad is actually the first salvo in Dodge’s one million dollar challenge in support of the FFA Foundation initiative “Feeding the world-starting at home.”  Check out their initiative here <http://www.ihigh.com/ffa/video_913581.html&gt;

The ad used Paul Harvey’s reading of the poem from his address to the 1978 FFA convention.  Many farm groups have used those words and added their own pictures just as Dodge has done, but this is the first time it has made it to the Superbowl.  If you missed the program it can be found here <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S87BhEJX_bg&gt;

These are indeed words that tug on heartstrings.  The emotion is there despite the calm way that Paul Harvey recites the poem.  Perhaps this may be a start for some to dig into exactly what farming is today, and what it is not.

For many years now the consumer of farm products has been concerned that the family farmer is a thing of the past.  In some ways they are right, farming is nothing like what it was just after WWII.  The young people of the rural areas wanted more than the farm could provide and moved to city jobs in droves.  Those left on the farm improvised and made life better.  Today the farmer is just as likely to use a computer as his city cousin.  What we use them for would amaze you.  We need these upgrades in machinery and computing power if we are to feed the world of the future.

Todays farmer feeds 155 people, that is up from only 26 back in the early 60’s.  The farmer does this while greatly increasing efficiency.  This increase in production is done using fewer inputs than our fathers did, and this increased efficiency will continue.

Today the average farmer gets about 15 cents of the food dollar.  From that 15 cents he must pay for his fuel, seed, machinery, fertilizer, pesticides, electricity, hired labor and sometimes water.  As you can imagine, there is not much left over to feed his family after paying all of those bills.

Oh yes, it is still a family farm.  97% of todays farms are owned and operated by families.  Some folks see names like Monsanto, DuPont, Harvestland, Tyson, HyVee, Kroger, Hormel and many others on their food and think that these are the people who grow the food.  Corporations are not growing your food, they are buying the food you eat from farmers and ranchers and getting it to your grocers shelves.  Please do not confuse food processors with food producers.  It is still the farmer who produces your food.

If you are interested in a few other commercials featuring America’s farmers, I invite you to look at these.  Yes, they are sponsored by a food processor, but those are real farm folks in the ads.



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