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Published June 23, 2014, 09:39 AM

Support for farming

I’d like to remind farmers that they still have a lot of fans.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much farmers — especially younger farmers — seem to feel the sting of criticisms. The beef and pork producers seem to feel the pressure from the anti-meat crowd. The corn and soybean farmers get it about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The “conventional” farmers get it from the organic enthusiasts. Even the organic producers will get it from certain environmentalists.

I’d like to remind farmers that they still have a lot of fans.

I ran into one the other day, while I was walking in a park in south Fargo. Jesse Olson is a recent honors graduate in psychology from Minnesota State University. He has a budding photo business (Vocal Point Photog-etry) and is artist of the month at Gallery 4 Ltd. in downtown Fargo. His photo display — “The Work that We Put In” — focused on farming. Olson has quite a story of growing up in Gully, Minn. — his religious beliefs, getting Lyme’s Disease in 2005 and struggling with an addiction to pain medications.

Olson said he was inspired by his brother, who works on a farm, and soon was reciting out loud to me his ode to farming, titled “A True Farmer”

He is the rooster crowing before the bruised orange morning. No time to call the sun rise

as 580 cows and calves are bellowing. Frozen handles

of obese pales — damp corn flickers and bounces across an icy path.

White wailing winds down even make his face squinch.

He is the rain to the crops, dripping blood into the soil,

Fingernails lined with dirt. Plants, roots, sprouts grows

Wheat, alfalfa, corn, soybeans and oats. Another nineteen hour day. All animals are asleep

While he is awake. Another 122 hour week.

He is the hammer and nail, driven by blisters and slivers. Carpenter of soil —

Doctor of birth — fixes electric, wooden and barbed wire fences,

Repairs tires, transmissions and engines, picks rocks, pitches bales, shovels manure,

Kicked by cows — yet he continues to feed them –—

And lights are combining through the night.

He is the scuffed steeled toed boots —

Worn out — but step forward

For the day where he can see if these boots

Fit his son and show him what it means to be

A true farmer

Not bad, I told Olson. Later, it occurred to me that in 35 years in the business, I’ve never heard a poem about journalists — not one. I hope all of you true farmers out there are having a safe and prosperous 2014 cropping season.

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