This riveting narration is by Paul Harvey — a recording of a speech he gave in 1978 at the 51st Future Farmers of America (FFA) National Convention in Kansas City, MO.
Mr. Harvey published the text 8 years later in his syndicated newspaper column, introducing it as something he’d received anonymously, and gently embellished to form this beautiful speech.
This is a longer version than the narration used during the Super Bowl commercial yesterday. I think the extra passages are worth the additional 30 seconds, as they speak of the farmer’s selflessness and honest kindness beneath the weathered and sinewy veneer. This homemade video features family pictures of Wisconsin farmer John Larson, as compiled by his daughter a year ago, long before Super Bowl 47.
In other blogs I follow, I’ve seen the Super Bowl version posted today, for good reason: It was the single best commercial shown. But here is the original full text of the inspiring narration — which, if for no other purpose, I archive for myself here… to return and read any time I selfishly think I’ve had a bad day.
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, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.
“I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild…somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait for lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies – then tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon – and mean it.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt… and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, painin’ from tractor back, put in another 72 hours.” So God made a farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double-speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to yean lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadowlark.”
It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and brake, and disk, and plow, and plant, and tie the fleece and strain the milk, and replenish the self feeder… and finish a hard week’s work with a 5-mile drive to church.
Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing… who would laugh, and then sigh… and then reply with smiling eyes when his son says that he wants to spend his life doing what Dad does. So God made a farmer.