From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer
Old sayings like “scratch a Christian, find a pagan” or “scratch a Russian, find a Tartar,” have a counterpart in agriculture: Scratch an American, find a farmer. There are a whole lot more people involved in farming than generally meets the eye or gets counted in the demographics. For instance, reading the latest (Spring, 2016 edition) Draft Horse Journal, I learned that Leroy Van Dyke, world famous country music star (his “Walk On By” has been named the most popular country music single of all time) lives on a farm and raises mules . He remembers his youth on his father’s 3000 acre farm, where, he recalls, “in 1936 we planted 650 acres of corn with mules.” So much for my notion that horses and mules are only practical on small farms.
This issue also carries a story about Andy Mast, an Amish artist and farmer who is now receiving national recognition for his amazing pencil sketches. Then there’s an article about William Busch, the fourth generation of the Busch family which made Budweiser beer famous. Growing up, he worked on the family farm estate and learned to like farming and breeding horses, which he is still doing. In addition, now that the Anheuser-Busch beer business has mostly been merged out of his family’s control, he has started his own new craft beer business, brewing a brand he calls Kraftig.
I personally know a doctor who maintains a working farm and grows open-pollinated corn. We’ve traded ears of our corn. I just got a letter from another doctor in Idaho who farms and writes newspaper columns too. He has “a few cows, sheep, chickens, dogs and horses including a team.” He is in the process of acquiring a hay loader for putting up hay loose, that is un-baled. Anybody willing to work that hard is a real farmer, I don’t care what else he does. Reminds me of the article I wrote for Farm Journal in 1965: “When Doctors Took Over Farming.” It was reprinted in the Wall Street Journal. It was supposed to be humor but not everyone thought it was funny. Right after that Farm Journal hired me and perhaps doctor farmers were part of the reason.