National Farmer Day: The many hats of a 21st Century farmer

It’s National Farmers Day. To many people, farming is a simplistic occupation and the farmer a nice but traditional man who plants the seeds and harvests the crop. But when I look at my farmer, I see a man who has 100 jobs, a million responsibilities and a variety of skills that serve him in all aspects of the job.

As I watched my husband work on the combine this evening, I made a mental list of his many skills, responsibilities and titles. Here are just a few roles and responsibilities he carries while “farming”:

– A veterinarian, administering treatments to sick animals

– A mechanic, repairing broken farm vehicles

– A technician, fixing broken implements

– A gardener, tending to his plants and checking soil health and moisture

– A truck drive, moving crops and cattle down the road

– A cowboy, herding cattle and moving them to new pasture ground

– A welder, repairing broken fencing and equipment

The boys and I paid the farmer hubs a visit to the field tonight. We don’t see much of dad during harvest.
The farmer and his father work to repair a bearing on the combine header. Owen provided supervision for the job.


– A caretaker, tending to sick animals and watching over newborn calves

– A nigh watchman, keeping track of the neighbors while he’s burning the midnight oil planting wheat or cutting soybeans

– A salesman, finding markets and opportunities for his grains and cattle

– A banker, managing his finances and planning for the next season

– An accountant, tracking purchases, paying bills and ensuring it all balances at the end of the day

– An investor, leveraging his equity in hopes of one day providing an opportunity for the next generation

– An advocate, standing up and speaking out for what he believes in

– A leader, donating his time to his church and community

– A son, watching his father and asking for advice along the way

– A father, showing his sons his passion for farming and the work ethic needed to make it in this industry

– A husband, providing for his family

– An agronomist, determining the seed variety best fit for the soil and region

– An environmentalist, protecting the ground and world around him while caring for the land they farm

– An engineer, using the tools and resources in his truck or tractor cab to craft a fix or render a solution to the problem

– An optimist, knowing the sun will come up and God will provide

In any given day, my husband is handling one if not all of these responsibilities. It’s all part of being a 21st century farmer. Farming is a way of life and farmer is a title bestowed only those determined and resilient enough to endure the hard times, long days and imperfect options.




One thought on “National Farmer Day: The many hats of a 21st Century farmer

  1. Katie, Well thought out and nicely done—as are all of your blog posts. Your first paragraph nails it: Many people think of farmers and farming as a simple and traditional way of life when, in fact, in this day and age, it’s really a very complex undertaking and requires the “farmer” to be multi-skilled. I always look forward to and learn from your posts!

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