old barn door the farmers creed poemEarlier this month we reflected on Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” from 1978. Those values and characteristics of a farmer hold true today, just as they did when they were first recited at the National FFA Convention. Folks can pick them apart and ridicule, saying the modern farmer has changed, but I believe those characteristics are things we still strive to be more like.

Looking back at the Farmer poem, reminded me of a portrait in the basement of a house I once lived in. On the back wall next to the cattle trophies and plaques from historical stock shows was a picture frame with a simple poem of 12 lines that describe the author’s belief in the capabilities of farming.

I believe a man’s greatest possession is his dignity and that no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming.

I believe hard work and honest sweat are the building blocks of a person’s character.

I believe that farming, despite hardships and disappointments, is the most honest and honorable way a man can spend his days on this earth.

I believe farming nurtures the close family ties that make life rich in many ways that money can’t buy.

I believe my children are learning values that will last a lifetime and can be learned in no other way.

I believe farming provides education for life that no other occupation teaches so much about birth, growth, and maturity in such a variety of ways.

I believe many of the best things in life are indeed free: the splendor of a sunrise, the rapture of wide open spaces, the exhilarating sight of your land greening each spring.

I believe that true happiness comes from watching your crops ripen in the field, your children grow tall in the sun, your whole family feel the pride that springs from their shared experience.

I believe that by my toil I am giving more to the world than I am taking from it, an honor that does not come to all men.

I believe that my life will be measured ultimately by what I have done for my fellowman, and by this standard I fear no judgement.

I believe when a man grows old and sums up his days, he should be able to stand tall and feel pride in the life he’s lived.

I believe in farming because it makes all this possible.

I can’t nail down a specific date or author for “The Farmers Creed” other than it was once printed in a New Holland publication. One source cites Mr. Frank I. Mann, an Illinois Corn Farmer, as the likely author circa 1915.

Apparently, this is Mann’s version of “The Farmer’s Creed” from nearly 100 years ago:

I believe in a permanent agriculture; a soil that will grow richer rather than poorer from year to year.

I believe in 100-bushel corn and in 50-bushel wheat, and I shall not be satisfied with anything less.

I believe that the only good weed is a dead weed, and that a clean farm is as important as a clean conscience.

I believe in the farm boy and in the farm girl, the farmer’s best crops, the future’s best hope.

I believe in the farm woman and will do all in my power to make her life easier and happier.

I believe in the country school that prepares for country life and a country church that teaches its people to love deeply and live honorably.

I believe in community spirit, a pride in home and neighbors, and I will do my part to make my community the best in the State.

I believe in the farmer, I believe in farm life, I believe in the inspiration of the open country.

I am proud to be a farmer, and I will try earnestly to be worthy of the name.

Call them idealistic. Call them old fashioned. Either way I think these are good words to believe in.

What is your favorite line from the pieces?

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