Are Farmers Crazy?

Maybe you have a small flower bed or garden at your house. If you are like most people you start out with big expectations and initial hard work. I can tell by the way you are reading that you are the type that is dedicated to doing a good job day in and day out and taking care of the weeding, the feeding, and all the things you believe are necessary for your garden to be productive.

Despite your effort you are still at the mercy of Mother Nature. A long, hot dry spell occurs and it is impossible for you to water that many plants and they burn up despite your best efforts. Or maybe it rains so much you feel like Noah looking for your boat and those once colorful blooms now hang limp and lifeless. Your sole companion, the family dog, the one you could tell all your troubles to, and unlike your better half, actually seemed to be listening, has run away.

Now imagine your life depended on that garden and that dog.

Bright Dog Sleeping

You’d have to be crazy, right? Most of the time (that’s important) I think I’m fairly sane, but my livelihood depends on animals and Mother Nature. The description of the the garden and the dog apply to farmers, but on a grander scale. Cows have to be fed and milked daily. The heat, cold, rain, and snow all impact milk production despite work we do against it.

And they have to eat. My oh my, how they have to eat. We fill silos full of silage and barns full of hay to keep food on their plate, if you will. There are plenty of jokes about farmers and the weather, but maybe we would best be described as being as critical as Goldilocks in the children’s story. We want it to be not too hot or too cold, but just right, and the same with the rain.

So why in the world do farmers put themselves in the position to where faith and positive thinking can be the only things that push them forward? For me, it begins with tradition. I am part of the fifth generation to work on our farm. Some of the idyllic notions of growing up on a farm apply to me, and probably still do. Our chores start early and can run late and my idea of a forty hour week runs toward, “what do you do with all that extra time?”

I like working with the cows and seeing the birth of a heifer calf and watching her grow into a member of the milk herd. I like seeing a field plowed or full of hay bales just wrapped and enjoy the satisfaction of the work completed. I like raising my family here and instilling them the values of hard work and the visual outcome of it. I’m not going to go all Theureau on you, but there is something about working with nature that I have found that I do not want to be without.

Maybe crazy isn’t the right description for why I, and other farmers do what we do. Maybe we do it because we love it. Maybe we do it because the joy in the work out paces any of the bad. Or heck, or maybe we are just crazy

About Ryan Bright

A fifth generation farmer, Ryan Bright works daily alongside his father and uncle on their ninety cow dairy. He received his degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and serves on various farm organization boards. Despite being a father of three, Ryan makes time to detail the happenings of farm life on two blogs. A self-published author, he is currently finishing Calculated Cruelty, his second rural detective book, due soon.


  1. […] are called to be farmers. Maybe not everyone answers on the first ring, but they’re called. I’ve said they might even be crazy to keep the hours and do the labor […]

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