You think you work hard? No doubt you do, but no one works harder than those who live on a farm. Up before sunrise, often laboring until there’s no daylight left. And what do they get for it? Higher oil prices, lower wholesale prices, losing economies of scale to agribusiness, and the condescension of urban elites who need what they produce and yet treat them like rubes.
Despite all the obstacles, these are the people who have made America the breadbasket of the world. Potatoes from Idaho, apples from Washington, hams from Virginia, corn from Iowa, grapes from California, oranges from Florida, wheat from Kansas, beef from Texas. American supermarkets are the envy of the world, and their shelves would be virtually empty without the American farmer.
Farmers pay their taxes. They raise their children with values. They pray. They love the land, and respect the climate. All they want in return is a fair shake for their products, the right to start with seeds and deliver a crop without interference or handicap.
Although I’ve lived almost all my life in cities, I now live on the edge of my wife’s family farm. Her daddy, William West, grew tobacco there, as well as some livestock destined primarily for his family’s table. When he died, the family leased the farm to a neighbor, who still grows soybeans there. It’s a beautiful, rolling property that looks like the pictures I’ve seen of Tuscany. My wife worked the farm while growing up, and I’ve been able to observe how it shaped her character. She works hard. She doesn’t complain. She’s adept at a wide variety of tasks. And she doesn’t expect things to be handed to her, she realizes that her comforts are a direct result of her labor.
As deeply as I love her, I admire her just as much. And I think a lot of that comes from her life on a farm. So I salute American farmers and their families. Thank you for all you’ve done to make this a nation of abundance like the world has never known. And for showing us the value of hard work, grounded values, and solid family life.