Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Farmer - Land O'Lakes and Amelia E. Barr

Land O'Lakes made this video internally, then when everyone loved it, they released it.

It features a poem called 'The Farmer' by Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919).

AdWeek writes about it, "Created by The Martin Agency, "The Farmer" recites Barr's poem as picturesque scenes of American agriculture, shot by a National Geographic team, flick across the screen. The result is a reclaiming of our agricultural roots, mingled with something sad and nostalgic."

The rest of the article is critical of farming.

"But farming has never really been all that romantic. Being, as Barr wrote, a partnership with sky and earth, sun and rain (not to mention economics), it's a relationship that can be characterized only by volatility."

It is a volatile relationship, it's a hard business, and it is difficult.  But not romantic?  Come on!  There is just something about farming and the relationship with the land that is like nothing else.  Watch any farmer describe how he planted a seed, watched it grow, tended to it, and harvested his crop, and you will see pure satisfaction.  Obviously, this writer has not listened to country music.  Full of romance.

She continues:
"When Barr wrote "The Farmer," rural life had already lost many of the charms we attribute to history. Most Americans still lived in rural areas in 1900, but urban sites were growing faster. A drought in the late 1800s drove many homesteaders into debt, forcing farmers to build alliances and even try forming a political party. (It didn't work out.)

The agricultural revolution was also in full swing, with new technology (and hybridized corn!) completely disrupting established ways of life—paving the way for farming that looks a lot more like the creepy, cyberpunkish dystopia of Chipotle's "The Scarecrow.""

Okay, the writer and I completely disagree here.  There has always been drought and debt.  As for turning farming into dystopia ... I'm convinced this writer has never been to a farm.  There aren't a lot of farmers crying to go back to the old ways before machinery and technology.  (We haven't traded pitchforks for cell phones ... we've just added another tool!)  And Chipotle?  I, personally, am anti-E.coli.

But disagree as I may with that writer, I agree with everything in this poem.  Here's the video, followed by the beautiful words.  I mean, she even gives a special mention to milk! Now that's poetry.  


The Farmer

The king may rule o'er land and sea,
The lord may live right royally,
The soldier ride in pomp and pride,
The sailor roam o'er ocean wide;
But this or that, whate'er befall,
The farmer he must feed them all.

The writer thinks, the poet sings,
The craftsmen fashion wondrous things,
The doctor heals, the lawyer pleads,
The miner follows the precious leads;
But this or that, whate'er befall,
The farmer he must feed them all.

The merchant he may buy and sell,
The teacher do his duty well;
But men may toil through busy days,
Or men may stroll through pleasant ways;
From king to beggar, whate'er befall,
The farmer he must feed them all.

The farmer's trade is one of worth;
He's partner with the sky and earth,
He's partner with the sun and rain,
And no man loses for his gain;
And men may rise, or men may fall,
But the farmer he must feed them all.

God bless the man who sows the wheat,
Who finds us milk and fruit and meat;
May his purse be heavy, his heart be light,
His cattle and corn and all go right;
God bless the seeds his hands let fall,
For the farmer he must feed us all.