Farmers Have Important Jobs

Farmers have a tough time

I don't know how many times each day when I'm at the market, people come by and ask me something like, "How do you get your tomatoes to grow like that? Mine don't look that good." Surely, they don't understand that this is my job, not just something I do in my spare time. I work, and work hard. At the end of the season they often ask me what I will do all winter now that I have nothing to do. There is rarely a day goes by in the winter when we don't work outside. The only time we don't work outside is when the weather is just too bad. We clean up the growing area, prune trees and vines, plant more trees and bushes, put the potted plants "to bed," chip up leaves and branches for mulch, clear more area and the list goes on and on. When it is too bad to work outside, we work inside doing the website, paperwork etc.

Farmers have a tough time

I don't think a lot of people realize exactly how important farmers are or how hard they work. Where would they get most of what they eat if there weren't any farmers? Very few people in the world grow everything they need themselves.

Farmers have to know what they are doing. They don't farm as a hobby. Sure, they love what they do but to make money at it, and that is the point, they have to learn how to grow the right things for their location, know what the public demands, know how to market it well, and keep up with new ideas and procedures. Farming is an ongoing process.

People who put out 6 tomato plants and a couple of peppers aren't usually trying to make a living of it. Many people don't have a clue how to learn about new varieties or where to find a source for them. Farming is like every other occupation. Photography, for instance, can be a hobby where you keep a record of family events - or you can learn how to become a serious photographer who makes real money at it. It is beyond my understanding why it is so hard for people to understand that farming is a way to make a living. Everyone seems to take their food for granted and think that farmers grow things just to give them away.

Farmers have a tough time

I consider myself a professional gardener more than a farmer since I don't have a lot of acreage tilled and growing. But I feel that what I do is important and that the people I grow and work with are important people as well. When I die I would like to be remembered for helping feed the world. People who do things like getting into the Guiness book of world records for sitting on a pole longer than anyone or eating 149 donuts etc. do nothing to help make the world a better place. Farmers do.

And while I am at it, I have a lot of people come through bragging about the Amish and how hard they work. And I am sure many of them do but they don't work any harder than the people I work and grow with. I work 16 hour days many times. And what makes me a little angry when people bring this up is that they don't have to abide by the child labor laws like we choose to do. Some of them work their children long and hard, taking them out of school to do so. I don't agree with that practice.

And another thing I have found to be true about the Amish is that not any of the ones I know grow the fruit they use in their jams and jellies. One of the ladies told me once that she was a little angry at a man who didn't want to pay her price for her jam and she stated to me, "And you know those canned peaches are expensive." I have bought cases of their jellies and jams and at the warehouse where you pick them up there are also cases stacked on cases of canned fruits that they were using while I was there to make their product. I use fresh fruits that I often pick myself or buy from someone else at the market.

The next time you run into a farmer, please look at them with respect and gratitude. And with the realization that they hold an important and necessary place in the world. We deserve and earn that respect.

Farmers deserve your respect

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