No Man’s Charity

Labor Day is the day we pause as a nation to celebrate the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. It’s also the day we pause as an industry to lift up the farmer and say thank you for the one we labor with at all hours, in all seasons, in order to feed, clothe and fuel the world while sustaining our own families.

The hands of a farmer tell the story of the heavy physical lifting while the wind and sun burned face show the emotional toll of a professional who buys at retail and sells at wholesale. This is a career where having faith is part of the job description and the responsibilities are numerous. In 1996 American Cyanamid ran the
I Am Responsible campaign. As we celebrate the contribution of workers and the contribution farmers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country, let’s also remember a farmer’s responsibility:

I Am Responsible…

For my own profit and loss.

I am no man’s charity.

For feeding 128 people

worldwide who will never thank me.

Next year I’m shooting for 132.

(Note: 18 years later it’s 155 people)

For keeping my water pure enough for drinking,

swimming, and an 8 pound bass named Joe.

For knowing organic chemistry, high finance,

mechanical engineering and biting my tongue

when I hear someone say, “He’s just a farmer.”

For being an active environmentalist, not an environmental activist. 

For my own decisions. For never putting profit ahead of people

or the next quarter ahead of the next generation. 

For resisting shortcuts and telling myself to keep going when others would quit.

For answering to God, to my family and to the land I farm accordingly.

I’ve learned much from watching the farmers in my life and their labor and love for the land and the livestock. I’ve learned a lot about how seriously they take their responsibility and how independently they labor to ensure everyone in this country has the opportunity for food on the table.

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