Woman of the West

So, God Made a Farmer

Every time I hear the words spoken by the late radio host Paul Harvey in his famous speech, So God Made a Farmer, I get chills throughout my body as the words echo in my head, trailing my thoughts to what my interpretation is of this speech.

I remember being a very young girl the first time I heard this powerful speech, and at the time, I didn’t fully understand the point Harvey was getting across. However, years later while watching the Superbowl, a Dodge Ram Trucks commercial came on the TV, with Harvey’s speech being the focal point of the commercial. My eyes welled up with tears, as I realized how impactful this speech was. 

“And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ““I need a caretaker,” ‘So God Made a Farmer.”

These words resonated with me, as I grew from my adolescence into adulthood, watching, learning, and admiring my family and friends who would work tireless, long hours in the fields and barns to make an honest living providing for their families, doing the jobs that most wouldn’t be willing to do. Farmers put in the hard work and are the backbone of the world. 

“I need somebody with strong arms. Strong enough to wrestle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry and have to wait for lunch until his wife is done feeding and visiting with the ladies and telling them to be sure to come back real soon… and mean it. So, God made a farmer!”

The first time I dissected this speech, I was overwhelmed with emotion as I thought about my grandpa Denny and his care and dedication to farming and ranching. He taught me as a young girl how to be gentle and kind while working with our horses, yet strong and tough enough to stack bales and haul manure while doing chores. It wasn’t always glamourous or easy, but it was always rewarding. 

A lot of people will probably never be able to understand the taxing work that goes into being a farmer or rancher, however, being able to appreciate them is a start, as farmers and ranchers feed the hungry world, and without them, the world would slowly deteriorate. 

“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!”

This time of year, haying is in full swing for farmers, and what Harvey spoke in the line above definitely hits close to home for many. 

My Grandpa Denny always taught his granddaughters that you work hard for yourself and your family, but you always help your neighbour; through the good times and the tough times. I know many can agree with this, as farming and ranching come with risks, but if things hit the fan, you find out that there is a community backing you each step of the way.

“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who’d laugh and then sigh… and then respond with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life doing what dad does. So, God made a farmer!”

The impact that Harvey had on the world when he gave this speech at the 1978 Future Farmers of America Convention was felt all across North America. The ripple effects are still felt today, as each generation of farm families passes on the tradition of this way of life. 

Next time you’re driving across the Canadian prairies, I encourage you to take a moment to appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears that farmers and ranchers put into their crops and herds; I know I do every single day.

Photos and story by Chelsey Becker