Farmers complain. That’s just what we do. I’ve never quite figured out whether it’s a genetic condition we’ve possessed since birth or a simple case of conditioning brought on by a lifetime of things not going “just right.” Either way, most of us farmers probably complain about something every day of our lives.
If you doubt my words, just ask the next farmer you run into on the street, “How are you liking this weather?” I guarantee you the response will be one of the following: too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too cloudy, too sunny, too humid or too____ (you fill in the blank). And even if the weather seems just about perfect, the farmer’s response will be, “Yeah, it’s great right now, but weather like this can’t last for long.”
Our skepticism is not confined to weather, either. The cost of our production inputs are always much too expensive compared to the prices we receive for our commodities, which are always — you guessed it — too low. Although, I did witness some of my fellow cattlemen, back in 2014, complaining that the price they were getting was too high. Those farmers would, as my father used to say, “complain if you hung them with a new rope” or “complain about mud in August.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we are all pessimists. If anything, a farmer has to be an eternal optimist or most of us would never get out of bed in the morning. Each spring, we plant a new crop or welcome a new bunch of pasture babies with the same hope that, this year, everything will work out “just right.”
I can remember when I finally accepted the fact that we always see the glass as half empty. Many years ago, my oldest son had just returned home from his first sleepover with his best buddy when he told me, “Daddy, the strangest thing happened last night.”
“What’s that?” I asked, with what I’m sure was more than a little concern in my voice.
“When Billy’s dad read us a bedtime story, it was about Goldilocks and the three bears, but it was a whole lot different than the way you tell it.”
“Yes, son,” I sighed. “Billy’s father is not a farmer, so he probably told you the citified version of the real story.”
My son looked at me with a puzzled look that begged for more information.
“You see, son, here on the farm, the porridge is either too hot or too cold. The chair is always too big or too small, and the bed is going to be, well, too soft or too hard. In the real world, nothing is ever going to be ‘just right.’”
Crownover writes from Missouri.