So God Made a Farmer

by Abe Sauer

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

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn and call his state senator to complain about expensive new slurry pit legislation, spend all day with his ag lobby board strategizing about more laws against private raw milk sales, take that state senator out for steak and wine at dinner, and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board at the school he wants to eliminate with a voucher program.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody that can tell an employee to go shape an ax handle, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, make a harness out of hay wire, and not report dangerous working conditions involved in doing those things. And, who, at planting time and harvest season, can get together with his Tea Party friends and complain about unchecked government spending while cashing Farm Bill subsidy and crop insurance checks. Then, painin’ from ‘golf cart back,’ put in another 72 minutes penning an op-ed to the local paper about socialism ruining the invisible hand of the market.

“I need somebody with strong, undocumented laborers. Strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to understand the economic need to ignore minimum wage and overtime laws.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to count on an underfunded FDA and castrated EPA, to heave their stomachs out of their SUVs and yet gentle enough to be reactionary about inevitable demographic changes to ‘the heartland’… and who will stop his mower for an hour to paint a sign, to be placed in his field by the highway, reading ‘Show me the birth certificate.’” So God made a farmer.

It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed and breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who’d laugh and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes, when his son says that he wants to spend his life “not doing what dad does.” So God made an undocumented farm worker.

Abe Sauer is the author of How to be: NORTH DAKOTA.