As we approach the season of gratitude, which quickly transitions into the season of giving, I can’t help but think of our farmers. Many of them — ranchers and growers, too — are my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. I think about them because I’m thankful for them — not only for what they do but also for how they give.
I don’t find trite in the reminder to all of us to “THANK A FARMER” because:
- “Farmers don’t just work ’til the sun goes down. They work ’til the job gets done.”
- “(Farmers) work in acres, not in hours.”
- “In winter’s chill and summer’s heat, farmers and ranchers work so the world can eat.”
- “During harvest, farmers give up meals at their table so we can have meals at ours.”
- “Once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.”
- “It isn’t the farm that makes the farmer. It is the love, hard work, and character.”
- “When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.” (Daniel Webster)
- “An industry that feeds you is an industry worth fighting for” and — my addition — worth being grateful for.
- “Farmers are the only indispensable people on the face of the earth.” (Li Zhaoxing)
- “If you want to find a caretaker for the earth, look no further than a farmer.” (thefarmersdaughterusa.com)
- “No farmers. No food. No future.”
- “So God made a Farmer …” Paul Harvey so wonderfully told us. (See and listen at https://bit.ly/2PLOtpN.) He made giving farmers like:
- Charles W. Obern, the 2019 Florida Farmer of the Year and owner of Clewiston-based C&B Farms, Inc. A report on the Sunbelt Ag Expo website (sunbeltexpo.com) described Obern, an organic vegetable grower, as a “dedicated problem solver” with a “strong interest in environmentally sound practices and sustainability.” He’s happy to share what he’s learned and developed with others in the industry.
- Sean and Jack Hellein of Raiford in north Florida. They own Bethesda Farms, the first not-for-profit USDA-certified organic poultry farm in Florida. Among several community endeavors, the company supports a number of community microfarms in the Clay County school system. (modernfarmer.com)
- The farmers and packers behind Farmers Feeding Florida, Feeding Florida’s effort to help more than 2.8 million Floridians who struggle to afford nutritious food. Feeding Florida works with farmers and packers to rescue and distribute cosmetically blemished but perfectly nourishing produce. (feedingflorida.org)
- The Sunshine State farmers who “gathered what they could” and headed to Nebraska to help farmers trying to recover from a flooding disaster earlier this year. (https://nebraska.tv/news)
Thanksgiving comes Nov. 28 this year. If you find yourself sitting around a big dining table loaded with a holiday feast and just can’t find the right words to say in gratitude, here’s a humble suggestion:
“Today we give thanks for the food on our tables, the clothes on our backs, and the farmers who make it all possible.”
BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Arcadia, and Plant City. You also can visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at www.DH-LR.com. A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.