Need hope? Look to a farmer

As the world pins its hopes on the distribution of effective COVID-19 vaccines so we can finally emerge from the pandemic, we can look to the Kentucky farmer for inspiration.

Throughout the crisis, farmers have not only kept America nourished, they have innovated and gotten the job done, despite many challenges. The family farms featured in this issue of Kentucky Living show this creative and industrious spirit.

Reading their examples of dedication remind me of the So God Made a Farmer speech by broadcaster Paul Harvey at an FFA convention 43 years ago. You may have heard portions of it in Super Bowl ads in recent years. In a series of scenarios recognizable to the rural reader, Harvey explains that on the 8th day of creation, God needed a caretaker for the paradise he created:

“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.”

The farmers I know embody this spirit and a special kind of faith. It takes a remarkable fortitude to weather the ups and downs of a life in agriculture. Even before COVID-19, farmers faced stiff headwinds, from trying growing conditions to falling prices in world markets.

Meanwhile, pandemic-related safety restrictions and an uncertain global economy have taken a tremendous toll. For instance, as restaurant orders plummeted, the glut of output forced producers to euthanize livestock, dump milk, and dispose of perishable products that could not be stored.

Now, in the depths of winter, America is fed while our farmers strategize and pray for a healthier 2021 and a return to some normalcy. Though this year has extra complications, farmers are always thinking ahead, turning, tilling and fertilizing for the next crop, breeding, nurturing and raising the next herd.

Thank you to our Kentucky farmers, who are resilient and have always risen to the challenge.

Chris Perry, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives President and CEO.