‘Farmer’ ad can mean many things

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Farm Forum

During the Super Bowl, I was quite surprised to see a few ads that hit a subject near and dear to my heart: agriculture.

Monsanto had a great ad giving accolades to farming, but the one that is being buzzed about all around the world is the “So God Made a Farmer” ad by Ram. It wasn’t a new idea. The Paul Harvey piece was done in 1978 at a Future Farmers of America convention. So why the big deal?

Well, it seems that everyone wants to read something into it. Either the piece is brilliant, or it’s a ripoff from days gone by. The ad is either an amazing ode to farming, or it’s chauvinistic and racist. The ad is a great tribute to one of our most important industries, or it’s a detriment to modern farming.

So which is it? How about none of the above.

Let me explain it this way:

One night for supper, I made barbecue chicken wings, fried potatoes and green beans. I knew I had to make it nutritional for all, but flexible for everyone’s taste. I gave Scooter his plate first. Big Bro was ticked because he thought Scooter was served more food. EJ showed up and was mad because he insisted that he had eaten those potatoes before and didn’t like them. George couldn’t have the chicken, but complained about the green beans because I gave him more than the others. Boss Man came into the house late for supper, but wasn’t going to eat anyway.

Everyone at the table saw the meal a different way. And me? Well, I was just grateful that I could provide my family a meal.

This Super Bowl commercial is the same. It’s simply a few minutes that have managed to open some ears and pique some interest in what we do every day. It has little to do with an accurate portrayal of agriculture, nothing to do with Harvey’s political views and won’t solve the world’s problems. But it has everything to do with providing an opportunity — and we had better take advantage of it.

I remember growing up, listening to Harvey and noticing his ability to communicate with people from across the world. His voice captivated, felt trustworthy and came across as an honest, down-to-earth vision of what we wanted our world to look like. I remember Dad swearing by any product that Mr. Harvey endorsed. His voice was a comforting, stable presence in an ever-changing world.

And the fact that we could use a recording from decades ago to reach out to people who are out of touch with who rural America is? Why wouldn’t we take that opportunity? It’s as if Mr. Harvey himself is reaching beyond the grave and giving us another shot to create a bond with the people who buy our products.

And now you know . . . the rest of the story.

Val Wagner loves raising her four boys on the farm in Dickey County, along with her husband, Mark. Catch her blog, Wag’n Tales, at wagfarms.wordpress.com, or follow one of their cows on Twitter at Cows_Life. Contact her at wagntales@gmail.com.