Farm Talk

Front page stories

February 19, 2013

“So God made a farmer.” strikes a chord

Parsons, Kansas — “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer.”

Amid the glitter and hype of the Super Bowl, a poignant affirmation of the American farmer shined as one of the media extravaganza’s most popular TV commercials.

Dodge Trucks resurrected Paul Harvey’s poetic “So God Made a Farmer” recitation to the 1978 National FFA Convention, a timeless ode to the profession of agriculture.

“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk the cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.’ So God made a farmer.”

An estimated 108.4 million people watched the Super Bowl and by Monday 4 million more had watched the “So God Made a Farmer” video on YouTube, a number that had blown past 8 million by the end of the week.

In addition to that huge exposure, the video received millions of hits on other internet sites as well.

Despite its obvious resonance with the public in general — and especially from farm groups — there was criticism of the ad. It was called “shameless pandering to the Heartland,” as well an “outdated stereotype.” It also took some knocks because no Hispanics were portrayed despite the fact that they make up nearly half of farm workers.

Apparently, however, millions and millions of Americans disagreed, including Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who was  unapologetic in his enthusiasm for the ad’s phenomenal reception.

"This ad was a good example of how we can inspire new audiences with a proactive message about the significant contributions of rural America," he said.

“God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.”

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