What was it about the Dodge' commercial, "God Made a Farmer," that stirred the souls of so many Americans during the Superbowl? Maybe it was the imagery of the dirt and grit of real America, not the white-washed concrete meccas many of us call home. Maybe for just a moment we were unplugged from our instant and superficial world and taken back to a time when we were captivated by God's creation, not what our friends were doing on Facebook. Or maybe it was just the quintessential sound of American icon, the late Paul Harvey, whose voice wraps around you like a warm blanket on a cold day. His message was one you could expect for a happy ending, even at a time when happy endings weren't en vogue.
Or maybe it was the unvarnished idea of the farmer, which is so often identified with America. It is the image of a tough life, one marked by hard work and honest living. A time when men were men, and that was okay. A time when workdays didn't end until the work was done.
When was the last time anyone gave a second thought as to where their groceries came from? Or, even cared? I haven't in a long time, at least not until this commercial aired. When I need food, I drive to the nearest grocery store and buy some, and become irritated when the date on the milk isn't as new as I'd like it to be. I've never had to provide milk for myself, and I'll bet farmers feel a certain sense of pride when the shelves are full, and dates are fresh.
But why should we care? Because besides feeding us, American farms feed the world. According to the American Farm Bureau in 2010, one third of the farms in the U.S. exported upwards of "$115 billion worth of American agricultural products." All this from more than two million farms across the country. Not too shabby, until you consider in 1935 there were nearly seven million farms. And it's getting worse.
Farming, like manufacturing, has begun a slow death in this country, sped along by a lazy younger workforce, many of which would rather stare at, as my niece so describes, "glowing rectangular objects" (smart phones), than produce something with soiled hands. According to the EPA, around 40 percent of farmers are 55 years old, or older. And according to the 2007 USDA Census of Agriculture, farmers under the age of 45 dropped 21 percent in five years.
The EPA report stated, "The graying of the farm population has led to concerns about the long-term health of family farms as an American institution," therefore the direct attack of family farms in 2012 by the Progressive-leaning Obama administration should have come as no surprise to anyone. After massive outcry, the DOL dropped its oppressive imperative banning children from working on their parents' farms.