Sustainable Farmer’s Response to “God Made a Farmer” Superbowl Ad

by Sarah Activism, Green Living, Other, VideosComments: 84

Essay by Tim Wightman, President, Farm to Consumer Foundation

Editor’s Note:  The following essay by Tim Wightman, sustainable farmer and President of the Farm to Consumer Foundation is a response to the Dodge Superbowl Commercial “God Made a Farmer” that was seen by millions this past weekend.  I have included the commercial here for you to view prior to reading Mr. Wightman’s eloquent, insightful and moving words.

Are you a sustainable farmer?  How did you react to the “God Made a Farmer” commercial? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

God may have made a farmer ….

I came of age on the Great Plains of this continent spanning from Texas to North Dakota seated in the cab of a combine consuming endless square circles of wheat for 4 summers. I met, worked with and for many farm families during those years. We regularly worked 16 to 18 hour days, sometimes for as long as 103 days in a row.  Three times a day on AM radio, the words of Paul Harvey rang clear and true, reinforcing the work ethic those of us in the fields came to acknowledge as sacred.

Mr. Harvey told me John Wayne had passed on along with many other stories and legends of hard work and sacrifice that seemed to be the path of every American who had succeeded in this land and the selfless contribution that was the ingredient to success. I had heard the same mythology from my grandfather and his peers cutting trees and pulling stumps and calves and nursing food and forage from the land where only the wild had existed before.

So in 1979 I headed west not knowing if I had graduated early from high school to earn my place in the agricultural community through the many hours and sacrifice I was told was part of the job.

7 months prior Mr. Harvey gave that speech that served as the basis for the Dodge Super Bowl ad to the attendees of the Future Farmers of America National Convention. Little did the attendees know that the Earl Butz expansion model of cheap money to farmers was at full bore and by 1981 the planned consolidation of that policy would hit the agricultural community harder than anything Mother Nature could ever have thrown at them.

Farm Aid was launched in 1985 to pick up the pieces and I was left with the task of finding work in a rapidly disappearing calling.  It seemed all my effort was lost to a fading memory of a proud history now blamed for doing itself in. It wasn’t until 1994 that I heard of a new movement in agriculture. They called it sustainable, community supported and organic but the movement was so new, it had just barely gotten off the ground.

As we sit and watch this commercial heralding the fact that “God made a Farmer”, it is important to remember that it was Big Ag and its lobbying in Washington that broke that same farmer’s back.

This ad perpetuates the myth that rugged individualism and the competition it creates was and is the way forward. Perpetuation of the delusion that the products grown are of no value at the farm gate, that the farmers who grew them are lucky to get anything for them, and that “off farm jobs” are normal.

In this finite wisdom we now have a collapsing health care system and soils near the end of their ability to provide for us.  This is all part of Big Ag’s “bargain” – a chemically altered microbial system that has been so compromised that the tragic end result is too much to face so no one mentions it save for the occasional whisper.

The visuals of the Dodge “God made a Farmer” commercial is what we have always wanted to believe, told we should believe. I find myself having lived long enough to call 1978 long ago and words from that time stir memories and passion today. I even found myself being reminded of the myths and desire to be that rugged individual that was up and at it before much of the country hit snooze. By the end of the commercial, a sickening feeling of being sold a lie and persuaded to believe it set in, and how the reality of today’s farming community is so far from Mr. Harvey’s words of 1978.

There are those who still want to feed us, but to do so alone as a rugged individual is no longer an option. It is not that they all want new Dodge pickups, it is the fact that all should be eating in the land of plenty and no one should be scared of their food.

The commercial conveniently glosses over the fact that three-quarters of those farmers in the commercial operate at a loss for the food industry. Yes, they are their own boss but it is not fair to burden others for the sake of ourselves.

I ask that we do not take these myths, these manufactured perceptions perpetuated in the commercial to our farmer or farmers market this week. Thank them for thinking and growing out of the box. Yes, they work hard but no longer need to stand alone.

It is this generation of local farmers that will put the face of agriculture back to its rightful place in our society. Every dollar you spend directly with a local farmer is another dollar less that will be used against all of us.

I fell for the hype of serving a corporate food system with duty, honor and 100 hour weeks and very nearly ruined my health in doing so. I am now reminded of all the John Henrys I have known over the years, desperately trying to stay ahead of the system. I am reminded of the migrant workers who’s names we will never know still working the 100 hour standard. I am reminded of all the farm sons and daughters who are not on the land. God may have made a farmer, but Big Ag broke his back, broke the spirit of his wife and damned near turned our futures to dust.

About The Author

Tim Wightman is the President of the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation, author of the Raw Milk Production Handbook and creator of Chore Time DVD.  He also teaches Raw Milk Production Workshops and is a biological farming and local food consultant.

He has pioneered CSAs, organic cooperatives, farmers’ markets, the Cow-share program, Farm-share program, and share raw milk distribution program while living in Northern Wisconsin.

Comments (84)

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  • Brad Wilson

    for Anni: There’s still a lot of work to do on the issues raised by this superbowl ad from last year. So, do you see places where young farmers are learning from old farmers, (i.e. online) and giving feedback to them, and if so, where? It seems that many of the biggest issues are being lost. i.e.: “The Women of Farm Justice: Forgotten by Women Today?”

    February 10th, 2014 6:21 am Reply
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    October 4th, 2013 8:44 am Reply
  • Susan

    Ok, here’s the reality/spoof of that commercial. So God made a factory farmer:

    February 19th, 2013 3:10 am Reply
  • Andrea Merrigan

    Thanks for sharing this response. I had not seen the commercial since we did not watch the superbowl, very interesting. I shared the post on my Weekend Wanderings post today.

    February 17th, 2013 4:19 pm Reply
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  • Brad Wilson

    Industrial ag, cheaper, if you don’t count the well documented hidden costs to environment, community, health, hunger, economy (less wealth and jobs creation), and if you don’t count the way Congress, following corporate lobbyists, has forced US & global farmers to massively subsidize AgBiz/consumers with below cost food. Remember, “Corn Farmers Have Long Subsidized You, Not the Other Way Around” (etc. net result), as the data clearly shows (“Hidden Farm Bill: Debunking 3 Myths”).

    The Farm Bill issue is the ABSENCE of nonsubsidy market management policies and programs (price floors & ceilings, supply reductions as needed and reserve supplies) leading to massive reductions in income, not the PRESENCE of subsidies to compensate for a small fraction of the reductions. Farmers have fought against the spin that these massive reductions was in any way FOR farmers (you know, “safety nets”? absurd!) for 6 decades.

    Wendell Berry has the best analysis I’ve seen of your issues about our unsustainable lives (as that relates to agriculture) in his book The Unsettling of America.

    February 13th, 2013 11:14 am Reply
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  • Chazz Ercize

    American industrial ag has made food cheaper and more available than any prior system notwithstanding quality. If you can find a niche to promote quality over quantity, that’s great. Americans generally choose an industrialized life, and leave their completely non-sustainable office in their non-sustainable city, drive to the grocery store and purchase food then go to their non-sustainable home, and repeat for 30 years. There is really nothing sustainable in the way most Americans live- even though they compost in the back yard of their non-sustainable homes and grow a tomato plant in their front yard so everyone can see how sustainable they would like to be. It’s not surprising that most of their sustenance is derived by industrial farming producing lower quality, cheaper food. Some choose to live more simply than most, but we are in a miniscule minority. The author tends to criticizes producers who don’t produce his way, and then blames “big ag” for their transgression. That’s B.S. He disagrees with the way most people choose to live, and choose to spend their money; so do I. Ag subsidies, land prices and inflation hurt the small farmer as much as anything else (all those thing were supposed to help the little guy, remember?). I’m glad the author ditched the “corporate food system.” Very glad for him… Picking on a super bowl commercial as though it is some sort of an insult is like getting angry at a mirror because you hate the image you see… I am pretty sure that the advertising company nailed the target consumer with a hammer on that one.

    February 12th, 2013 11:14 pm Reply
  • Brad Wilson

    This is one of the better reviews, though I disagree with parts. Sustainable agriculture is the new trend that updates traditional family farming and it’s way of life, (which is really a pattern of history,) on a post modern, post industrial model. It’s where the ad is most true today, along with much of dairy farming and other diversified farms with livestock. It’s very true that conservative “rugged individualism” has been used against farmers, to get them to call for an end to the farm bill and a return to free-market “Hooverism.” On the other hand, the same values have been huge in the Family Farm (Farm Justice) Movement, in fighting against Agribusiness (for 5 decades prior to the food movement, and more). The line about A key flaw in this review is the emphasis on “Big Ag” as the “villian” destroying the food/farm system, rather than Ag Biz, starting with the buyers of farm commodities. Large farms have had the largest reductions were created by Ag Biz exploitation and the Congressional lowering of price standards, but they also have had huge reductions (market price x volume of production) from Ag Biz domination. The Paul Harvey text is an important sociological/literary expression of our cultural heritage. That heritage should not be conceded to anyone. It should be front and center at farmers markets. The line about operating at a loss is important but not well developed. The line about burdening others for the sake of ourselves is misleading, in that our losses have been gains to the Ag Biz buyers/consumers, and those gains have been about 8 x bigger than farm subsidies, for example. But farmers fought against those subsidies, and for minimum prices (plus supply management like other industries,) set at fair trade levels, with price ceilings and strategic reserve supplies to protect consumers, as in the Food From Family Farms Act of the National Family Farm Coalition.

    February 12th, 2013 8:31 am Reply
  • Nikki

    I feel that we are making it too complicated. We can discuss what our government has legislated in the way of farm subsidies for long
    periods of time-it is very convoluted and most likely recorded incorrectly at times. That is not the real problem. Lets break it down and make it simple. In farming we are utilizing technologies that are anti-health. We need to educate our population in the sciences so that the farmer does not feel the need to utilize poisons or genetically modified organisms in order to support their family. The governments are not going to bring about this education because the government is lining it’s pockets with our lack of knowledge. The bigger picture is almost too painful to look at …….-Most farming practice in the United States is against health and the sooner that this information about poor farming practice gets spread among us the better. As a tax specialist, I believe that the majority of organic farms are making a profit and with out government subsidies or pricing controls. If you look at RECENT legislation-you see a trend of government attempting to either knowingly or unknowingly make it difficult if not impossible for small farms to survive. Before the 1950’s, before our “better living thru chemicals era”-our farms were models for this planet.

    We need more science education for our children.

    Start at the

    7 Gates Farm/Ohio

    February 12th, 2013 9:25 am Reply
    • Brad Wilson

      My view is that the issues are connected, from farm subsidies to healthy food, and all need to be understood (Read my “Farm Bill Economics: Think ecology,” where I compare the narrow, false subsidy paradigm to “better living thru chemicals”). We’ve had a false paradigm on subsidies, so it’s harder (to unlearn and relearn). In simple terms we’ve reduced and ended farm bill market management, (fairly balanced supply & demand and high & low prices,) then later very partially compensated farmers for the bad farm bills, which confuses the issue. We need policy changes that make it economically possible for farmers to come on board with healthy food. The sustainable agriculture has been weak at joining on with these farm justice issues, in part because the premiums for organic have been sufficient. But they are affected, increasingly so, and are facing increasing corporate concentration issues. A local cheese or an organic dairy premium is low when it’s on top of massive dairy losses in the conventional market, and the same holds for other items. Chapter 1 in Wenonah Hauter’s book Foodopoly, in chapter 1, addresses this specific issue, the biggest farm bill issue. We had the good programs 1942-1952. The Weston Price group has provided information on some of this history, through it’s connection with the late Charles Walters, who was one of the leading writers on these Farm Bill justice issues in the 1960s-70s.

      February 12th, 2013 4:43 pm Reply
  • vivian

    That commercial was not meant to skew our image of a farmer. Quite the contrary. In fact, it was a beautiful tribute to the folks working the land. One of the most wonderful commercials I’ve ever seen.
    In this day and age, when God is forced out of everything we hold dear and super powers like Monsanto have all of us by the throat, one has to wonder about its motives. Trying to clean up their image???? When pigs fly.

    February 11th, 2013 11:01 pm Reply
  • Angie A

    I really don’t think this is what Dodge intended. Everything is open to interpretation including this commercial. Although I do agree with your statement “Bigger is not always better”, I think Dodge simply put out a commercial for the average American (or other ethnicity watching) to show that farmers work VERY hard and a Dodge truck can be extremely helpful. If it can be that helpful to a farmer, viewers may see it being helpful for their line of work as well. Hence the message at the end: To the Farmer in all of us. That is how I perceived it anyway…
    The article definitely points out some important issues in our world today, but again I don’t think that a vehicle manufacturing company wanted to illustrate a skewed image of “The Farmer”.
    This commercial controversy is just another example of something being blown out of proportion.
    Often we focus so much on analyzing every statement made and every action done that we often miss the simple message.
    If anything, I think this commercial brought more awareness to how hard farmers work and we SHOULD support them!

    February 11th, 2013 3:22 pm Reply
  • Laura

    Superbowl Ad, how about hyperbole ad? Chrysler and Dodge are no longer American Companies. They owned by Fiat. So much for the American Dream, huh?

    February 11th, 2013 12:48 pm Reply
  • Stormy

    This commercial wasn’t about big ag and the campaign goes to FFA. At some point, we have to be thankful that we had a bit of a hat tipped to us and what we do.

    Yes big ag ruined us. Yes we are having it hard right now. But we can’t be so bitter we become our own undoing.

    February 11th, 2013 11:14 am Reply
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  • Elaine

    Most farmers are slaves to Monsanto. Most farmers couldn’t survive without gov’t subsidies. Most farmers couldn’t afford a new truck.

    February 10th, 2013 6:26 pm Reply
    • Brad Wilson

      Most farmers have not survived even WITH government subsidies (ie. since 1953), because they have covered only about 1/8 of the amount that Congress reduced fair price standards. We need to return to a fair trade, living wage farm bill, which eliminates the need for subsidies. See the major “Farm Justice Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill.”

      February 12th, 2013 8:51 am Reply
  • Sharon

    I have read your blog for a couple of years and have gained so much from reading it. Recently I have seen profanity in some of the comments and now at the end of this post. I agree with Mr. Wightman, but heartfelt words don’t need the emphasis of profanity and would ask that you would choose to keep your blog clean.

    February 10th, 2013 3:27 pm Reply
  • Brittany Ardito

    I love this post. I was thinking the same thing as I watched the dodge commercial with my husband. I told him how ironic this commercial was because of how messed up the farming and food industry is nowadays…

    February 9th, 2013 1:34 pm Reply
  • Nikki

    Dear Post moderator,
    Did you delete my post?
    It was very heartfelt and informative,
    why did you delete it?

    Please advise,
    thank you,

    February 9th, 2013 10:48 am Reply
  • DRK

    Something to think about for those that hunt. and fish in farm country, The wildlife that survives is roundup ready. Eat up, find out if you are roundup ready.

    February 9th, 2013 10:39 am Reply
  • Nikki

    sorry about that, I see it now. Sometimes, computer software does change the letters/words in transmissions on it’s own.
    thank you for offering this sign post.

    February 9th, 2013 10:30 am Reply
  • Nikki

    Dear post moderator,
    I do not see my post. Did you delete it and if yes why please.
    thank you,

    February 9th, 2013 10:27 am Reply
  • Nikki

    I have been a small farmer in mid-western Ohio since 1987. I was certified organic in 1991 by OEEFA. I have not been certified since the 1990’s because I no longer needed to prove to my customers that my goal was to provide the cleanest healthiest food possible by avoiding man made molecules in my production and adding back to health of the living soil bank. As the years have progressed, my status has been changed from being a weird hippy to a person whose experience, knowledge and courage to be different from most of the rest of the farmers in my area is now admired and requested, by some. Integrated careful healthy farming takes a lot of mental and physical work-my research is never ending. With my partner slowly losing his body strength to heart disease and diabetes, I can no longer do the farm work and take care of my family at the same time-it is that hard of work. I have raised 100% organic grassfed jersey, family cow, shiitake mushrooms on oak logs, specialty produce and berries plus more. My farming neighbors around me are; mono-cropping, spraying glyphosate 4 times a years (vs the once a year they used to spray it), using every new chemical that comes down the pike that the fing…da tells them is safe to use, they are raping the earth of all the trees they can possibly cut down in order to put just just a few more acres in production, it looks like a war zone around here with trees laying everywhere (that part makes me cry if I am not careful) then the wind blows even harder removing their metal barn roofs and silos, their soil and man made chemicals cover my property every time the winds blows, the GMO seeds my neighbor’s are planting in effort to put their balance sheet back into the black are destroying the health of my daughter in the form of a disease that has been given the name of Morgellens. I know their bottom lines- I used to be a tax expert, I prepared tax returns for farmers in the county that has the richest soil in the world and I will tell you, the only reason most of them have a profit at the end of the year is from farm subsidies that they received from the government-in other words, if they tried to use their mono-cropping with huge machinery model with out the government money-they would not be making it. And do these neighbors of mine realize what they are doing? Would they listen to me if I tried to teach them about the death they are creating for all of us? Their dead toxic soil and man made chemicals cover my property every time the winds blows, I think that deep inside of them somewhere, they must be feeling some type of sorrow or guilt for trashing the planet in the interest of monetary gain. So many times I have wanted to knock on their door and try to show them some things about health and farming, in a nice respectful way, but I do not. The banking system and money are predatory- this monetary system has so ruined our American farming system, and it is
    about to ruin life on the planet, big pharma, communications conglomerate, Monsanto and big oil all are trashing the health of the planet and us and we are suffering mightily right now. I have never seen such a large percentage of the our population sick or stressed to the limit. Now that most of us have access to the internet and books, we can all look around and find the answers, and the answers must come from us. We must make the changes ourselves instead of waiting for the old guard at the top to do it, they are like my neighbor farmer’s, it is their identity and they cannot accept anything else.. In my little sharing with you today-my purpose? Not money.. I want you to find the strength to look up the answers for yourself, the information we need is already out there-been there all along-it’s just not being shoved in your face by the communications conglomerate. I want you to look at the truth and not what a government agency is telling you is safe and healthy. University studies have proven beyond any doubt that organic farming yields are higher in the long run. Thoughtful truthful human beings are building and running research laboratories where we are proving once and for all with science that man made molecules do not belong in the food system. Do your research and learn to follow the money trail. Then, begin to change things little bits at a time, by how you use your money,we can do this. The “God made a farmer” commercial illustrated that we need to make a change in our farming system, I liked that part, but I also laughed, Dodge is obviously using emotions to sell something, at least they weren’t using fear to manipulate us like our government is prone to doing.

    Oh, and I will go back to farming, I will be an example.

    Start here at the best website in the world;

    7 Gates Farm-Ohio

    February 9th, 2013 10:04 am Reply
    • Helen T

      This is the most heart rendering comment I’ve read in along time. Can’t say it any better.

      February 9th, 2013 4:53 pm Reply
    • Lolalo

      You have put my thoughts into words that I am unable to compose! If this is not thought provoking, I don’t know what could be. People need to understand that all the sickness and suffering from all the new ‘diseases’ are a direct result of the new farming practices that are mandated by our government (in bed with Monsanto). Our bodies don’t recognize all this dead food and GMO crap. Sad to see everyone just accepting what is being dished out and seeing the natural world being forever changed. My poor little grandchildren have to suffer the consequences.

      February 10th, 2013 10:25 am Reply
    • Brad Wilson

      As as fossil fuel prices rise, and costs rise from the Agribusiness-input complex (Monsanto, Dow, John Deere, those pick-up trucks) sustainable agriculture can provide part of the solution, ways to save money on production costs. We also need a good farm bill. The National Farmers Union has offered an important new approach, similar to the fair standards of the past, in the “Market Driven Inventory System.”

      February 12th, 2013 8:56 am Reply
  • chicknlil

    This commercial was about selling Dodge pick-ups to non-farmers. There aren’t enough farmers left to keep Dodge in business. On one hand farmers are portrayed as the salt of the Earth, hard working s.o.b., all around good guy. On the other hand is the ingorant, corn-pone hick. Guess what? Neither is correct! We’re just like everyone else, some are good, some are bad, and alot are in between. This is an example of a multi-national corporation using the mythology of the farmer to sell product. It’s just like buying a stick of margerine with a red barn on the label.
    p.s. I’m a fourth generation farmily farmer.

    February 9th, 2013 9:45 am Reply
  • Charles

    There is a point here; with better editing I might be able to discern what it is. You write with enough passion to ignite interest and suggest credibility, but don’t provide context enough for a reader who is not familiar with agricultural issues to feel informed. “Shop locally” sounds like a great idea, but for those of us who are struggling to make small or occasional paychecks stretch to feed our children, it remains a luxury. I love our farmer’s market, but shopping there is significantly more expensive than the same items at the local grocery. I don’t want farmers to work at a loss, but I am literally struggling to feed my own children on a month-to-month basis. More information might inform and suggest solutions to move the incentive to change from the privileged few to the rest of us.

    February 8th, 2013 11:28 pm Reply
    • chicknlil

      I’m a small farmer and I could always use help around the farm. I would be happy to help someone out with food, for a little of their time. I would also love to have a highschool kid who was interested in farming come help too. You might check around and see if there’s anybody who needs help. I mean this with the upmost resect. Our family struggled when I was growing up durring the farm crisis, things were very tight.

      February 9th, 2013 9:54 am Reply
  • planning4acrash

    Interesting. Eighth day evangelists? Wouldn’t that be referring to Lucifer?! Those whom believe God did not do a good job in the first six days and who believe that they must turn away from God and become Gods?!

    Like, Monsanto, which believes that genetics are there to be manipulated, against what the Bible teaches?!

    If I wasn’t mistaken, this would be the Luciferian teachings of the Free Masons to justify their turning their back on God and the 10 Commandments, with a post hoc justification of their lying, cheating, stealing and killing. Total blasphemy.

    February 8th, 2013 7:36 pm Reply
  • Kit

    Wow! Tim’s message was great, but it was a truck commercial, with Paul Harvey, an entertainer crooning us country folk, just as Rush Limbaugh croons our country’s neo- conservative folk. Paul Harvey isn’t a prophet and was making his name in an era before sustainable farming was the word. I did notice, however, the huge combine, the images that elicited that nostalgic longing for another era, and the two CAFOs in the background of the closing frames and the Dodge Truck. To educate the consumers, I recommend a membership in a reparable Non Profit organization, who are advocate of creating a new food system that supports the small farmers’ efforts and are making individuals aware of the corporations who are increasingly and progressively gaining control of our food system by mean of proprietary marketing through the technology of Genetic Engineering.

    February 8th, 2013 6:46 pm Reply
  • Brenna Jansen

    I’m a small scale sustainable farmer (market garden + chickens), and I enjoyed the commercial but I did feel that it wasn’t really talking to me. It was playing on that typical American farmer stereotype and also a very masculine one! To me it was just that typical christian-american-male thing and they certainly weren’t marketing to me.

    February 8th, 2013 6:34 pm Reply
  • Sean

    Well said. I live in rural Nebraska, and while I don’t personally farm more than my growing plot of a garden, just about everything around here is touched by agriculture. Really is kinda sad to see the smaller farm operations struggling to scale up to the big boys, and losing their soul in the process!

    February 8th, 2013 5:20 pm Reply
  • Denise

    One of the farmers in that ad lives near us. I liked it. Yes. Enjoyed hearing Paul Harvey and it brought back good memories. We don’t need to politicize everything – and I am about as political as they get.

    I also don’t touch the word “sustainable” with a ten foot pole. It is part and parcel of the UN Agenda 21 movement and it is not a good thing. They want to take away property rights so there won’t even BE small farms! They view traditional farms as unsustainable. Bad word we throw around.

    I buy from local farmers and garden myself and I am just going to continue to enjoy that commercial and not politicize it!

    February 8th, 2013 5:09 pm Reply
    • Cheryl

      Well said Denise! People hear the word “sustainable” and think of the dust bowl or of overfishing. But in terms of the UN’s Agenda 21, it means the end of land ownership, forcing the population into [government] controllable, urban areas and the end of small farms. To those of you who haven’t heard of Agenda 21–look it up–please!

      I saw the commercial and thought it was perhaps one of the greatest marketing campaigns ever. It was about selling a tool that every farmer uses–the pickup. I think most pickup truck owners are either farmers, ranchers or identify with the culture. If you look at history, farming began to decrease during the industrial age. At one time everyone farmed because you had to feed your family. Farming equipment began to enable the farming of more ground with less help. People moved toward the cities for non-farm work that paid better and farms got smaller and smaller as land was divided up in wills. Most don’t farm nowadays, but many had a grandparent or great-grandparent who did.

      February 17th, 2013 3:11 pm Reply
  • deborah345

    Like it -however through the whole thing I could not help but think of the deception it brings since most farming and where our food is coming from has nothing to do with the “farmer lifestyle” which was being portrayed. Perhaps it was all true some 60 years ago, but not today. A farmer like they showed on this commercial is far and few between.

    February 8th, 2013 4:32 pm Reply
    • Helen T

      You’re so right, Deborah. This farmer is unfortunately not the norm today.
      Monoculture, pesticides, GMOs, Monsanto suing farmers for illegal use of their seeds when in fact the seeds had cross-bred with non-GMO,plus dubious laws passed where one is forbidden to save the seeds of the year before – all this has killed off the family farm. This is documented. So this commercial is essentally a nostalgic look at farmers from days past.

      Farmers are still being forced out of business because of high costs and low benefits.

      Hopefully the movement of locally sourced organic food will go from strength to strength and bring back so many of the family farms that have been lost.

      February 9th, 2013 6:58 am Reply
  • Vivian

    I’d bet my money that Monsanto bankrolled that commercial by giving Dodge free advertising and using our heartstrings as puppet strings.

    February 8th, 2013 4:14 pm Reply
  • Velma

    That speech was all about my Grandparents. Thankfully they left their farm before Big Ag happened, and likely would have crushed them.

    That speech IS about the local farmers at the farmers markets. It’s about the farmers under the thumb of “Big Ag” too.

    The words are true no matter what era you’re speaking of. Like Dodge is using the speech for marketing its trucks, there’s nothing wrong with the author using it as a spring board to talk about what “Big Ag” has done to the Farmers God Created.

    Someone should read his article with a bunch of organic farming pictures, and post it as an answer to the video on Youtube. :)

    February 8th, 2013 3:36 pm Reply
  • watchmom3

    I am leary of anything from the media and big corporations; I agree with Tim and I am grateful to all the small farmers and ranchers trying to hang in there and do something meaningful. God bless and save America. P.S. I refuse to watch the Super Bowl as I am morally opposed to all the soft core porn they throw in to pervert normal, healthy, God-given, sexuality. Thanks…just had to share it.

    February 8th, 2013 2:52 pm Reply
  • kelly w

    Watching the commercial, I wondered where all the Mexican’s and other hard working immigrants are that largely help to bring food to our tables.

    February 8th, 2013 2:44 pm Reply
  • Daryl

    I am glad there are still people who can see the truth behind a slick ad. The farmer in the commercial is few and far between. Why do people put down those who get welfare? Isn’t farm aid the same thing. Just worst. Because these farmers do have means of making a living, but the government gives them welfare instead. I support small farmers in our area and will continue to do so. So long as the government doesn’t step in and put them out too.

    February 8th, 2013 2:42 pm Reply
  • Cara

    I thought this commercial was about being thankful to the farmer and giving a glimpse into their personal philosophy. While I respect and agree with the majority of Wightman’s views … I do not think that this commercial was giving a “mythical” description of the farmer in yesteryear. No, by and large, this is still the prevailing attitude and philosophy of farmers in this country, with or without Big Ag’s interference. I pray that grass roots efforts (our buying from local farmers) will help to change the course of those who are allowing their farms to become polluted with chems and gov’t marketting schemes.

    February 8th, 2013 2:24 pm Reply
  • Desiree

    I whole heartedly agree with what Tim Whiteman says in this essay. God may have made a farmer, but big Ag broke his back. I have seen it around me for years as I have traveled around the country learning to be the next generation farmer.

    Here in southwest Missouri, we are blessed with many small-time farmers who use no chemicals and are always open to learning more. They work hard, but not too hard. They love what they do and they farm because they care about healthy food and taking care of people. We have a local movement called Home Grown Missouri. We are protesting the government’s strangle hold on food security and liberty by growing our own food locally, naturally and by supporting our local economies all while growing a close community of friends. The change is among us. We are growing spiritually and the rains are falling down.

    February 8th, 2013 2:08 pm Reply
  • Kim Schuette

    Great commentary, Tim! Thanks for posting this, Sarah.

    February 8th, 2013 1:53 pm Reply
  • js290

    Markets Not Capitalism, Ch 39
    Agorist Quarterly 1.1 (Fall 1995): 31-45
    07-03 Stromberg — English Encloures and Soviet Collectivization

    Since the early socialists accepted the economic rationale of large-scale agricultural enterprise put forward by the defenders of Britain’s landed elite, it is not surprising that they were hostile from the beginning to peasant aspirations. To quote Dovring again: “The parallel strands of ideology from English aristocracy and Marxist socialism have done much, over the years, to discredit small-scale peasant farming despite its successes in Europe and Asia.” This mésalliance still has much influence on the economic policies of the postcolonial Third World, where many governments prefer tax-intensive super-projects of capital investment in heavy industry (e.g. steel mills, nuclear power plants) in countries that barely feed themselves. Some economists are beginning to question this preferred model of development and are suggesting that the Jeffersonian/peasantist/Bukharinist program of letting small-scale farmers take the lead is the soundest path in agrarian societies with an abundance of labor and a shortage of everything else. Thus John Kenneth Galbraith writes that socialism “does not easily preempt the self-motivated farm proprietor” and urges the undeveloped countries to allow agricultural prices to rise to their natural level to stimulate production, rather than subsidizing city-dwellers at the expense of farmers.

    February 8th, 2013 1:34 pm Reply
  • Cari

    This is the first I have heard this, we did not watch the super bowl. We were at church and then feeding animals. We are a ranching family! A friend said that Dodge had the best commercial, and that it looked just like how my family is. (Funny we drive Dodge!) I loved the commercial, but at the same time can see the point of a lie. We are NOT big time ag people. We use horses, milk cows and goats, birth all of the like. Our fertilizer is from the stock we grow, and truly we have never made a huge profit! Our government is NOT for the farmer, or anyone that can think for themselves and plant a seed. But the farmers that lets the big boys run them over interestingly don’t like us who are not chemical crazy! To all of those who buy from farmers and ranchers like us (THANK YOU!) At the end of the Food Inc. movie is a farmer that made me cry, he said that” If the people want it, they would grow it.) The statement is true that we vote every time we shop! However, gov. policies make it so tough to get it to you! The big farms are being ruined by the gov!! But we will never give up! It is such a joy to hear people talk about how they had no idea the meat/milk/eggs could taste like that! My work day never ends, and I love it! Thank heaven God lets us rest on the 7th day.(After chores of course.) I agree with Sarah W.
    Thank again to all of you who support your local farmers/ranchers.


    February 8th, 2013 1:30 pm Reply
  • Cathy Raymond

    Another fab article Tim wrote:

    How farm spouses are subsidizing the local food movement.

    I now live in Western, Ohio, one of the most productive farming counties in the world. And yet in this county, 92% of the farming couples BOTH work full-time off-farm jobs while farming an amazing 3,000 acres every year. Without these off-farm jobs, the families would not have access to sustaining income nor the benefits of health insurance. These off-farm jobs act as a significant subsidy small farm families give to the local food movement. In the traditional farm families I’ve seen, it usually has fallen to the farm wife to work a full-time job, in addition to her other varied farm chores. But, more and more, I’ve seen both couples needing to work off-farm to make ends meet. Why is that?

    February 8th, 2013 1:22 pm Reply
    • Brad Wilson

      It’s because of agribusiness domination of Congress. Read Foodopoly, a new book, by Wenonah Hauter. It tells what the other food books and films do not tell. See also online a great booklet, “Crisis by Design” by Mark Ritchie, (see link by clicking my name, in the “history” section).

      February 12th, 2013 8:48 am Reply
  • TJ

    Has anyone seen this parody of the commercial?

    February 8th, 2013 1:20 pm Reply
  • Jill

    We all know that big ag is not ideal. The commercial wasn’t about big ag. It was about those special people who provide food in whatever way they choose. They are the ones who are at natures mercy. The folks who have the resilience to come back and hope for a better “next year” when a new colt dies and they did everything in their control. This commercial was a public bowing of the heads to give thanks for those who try to provide food on the table for us. Yes I am glad to see we are becoming more sustainably minded but I would hate for us to be ungrateful. Your post came across negative and ungrateful. We will be tuned out with our self righteous “sustainable rants” if we don’t acknowledge the one thing ALL farmers have in common…..hard work.

    February 8th, 2013 1:20 pm Reply
    • Carla T Grytdal


      February 9th, 2013 6:03 pm Reply
  • Leila

    Funny or Die’s response to the commercial. It’s called “God Made a Factory Farmer”

    February 8th, 2013 1:03 pm Reply
  • Bruce Doney

    The point the video makes is outstanding. We have a tendency to forget where our ultimate survival comes from, namely the farmer who grows the food that we need to keep us going daily. Even now he is under attack by people who want to add chemicals to his crops even though they insist they are not toxic. Where does the farmer go now to purchase unblemished seeds for his next year’s crop? He is under considerable pressure to purchase seed with added chemicals which add toxins to the crop. What of cross pollination of the crops when bees are poisoned? What of birds when they eat these new seeds? What of the people, when it becomes impossible to avoid those chemicals?

    I felt as I watched the video, a profound feeling of sadness that an era was passing away. Yet also I felt hope that the way of the present agricultural vision might intercept the path it is on, and bring hope to those farmers who can be encouraged that they can, once again, continue to serve the great land and its people.

    February 8th, 2013 1:00 pm Reply
  • Cathy

    The corporate food system is /was driven by consumers who want cheap food. It wasn’t forced on anyone. As for government programs, opt out…no one is forced to participate. I think this person sounds bitter. Having said that, my husband (who grew up on a family farm) and I have a jersey herdshare operation, providing fresh (raw) milk, grassfed beef, and eggs from free-range chickens. There is no need to villify any group…consumer awareness and desire will drive the market to provide what the consumer wants.

    February 8th, 2013 12:52 pm Reply
    • DRK

      If you pay taxes you can’t opt out of the government grain subsidies. That is where funding for these subsidies come from.

      February 8th, 2013 2:52 pm Reply
    • Tim Wightman

      As for your comment on “consumers wanted cheap food” consumers were not the driving force for the call of cheap food, The early food industry wanted cheap raw materials, and aligned with industry of all aspects of our society to break the growing cooperation of unions and farmers around 1945.
      Lower the cost paid to farmers for their products, force the sons and daughters off the land into the cities to create an excess in the labor pool which reduced wages to ready the country for the new concept of a consumer economy and the result of that implementation of expediential growth, we had the first Farm Bill in 1948 which implemented a system of subsidies rather than parity which was our countries original economic growth model.
      Farmers did sit on school and town boards back then and had a conservative concept of don’t buy it unless you need it. This did not sit well with the new consumer driven economic theory proponents of the Chicago School.
      The first Farm Bill was the first action for the funneling of money up to a few, The easy credit policy (1974) of Earl Butz was the second which was in play when Paul Harvey was giving the speech in the Dodge add, NAFTA (circa 1995) was the third effort on further consolidation of farms into fewer hands and implement the first phase on Mexico farmers (representative of our first Farm Bill) that the forced the farmers to move north to US based border factories and supply cheap labor.
      Resource scarcity is holding off the fourth consolidation and thank goodness we have a local food movement gaining momentum.
      So the mythology portrayed in the Dodge ad goes back way before 1978 and has a sinister back story that must be understood if we are to make significant change in our food system and economies.

      Your implication that everyone should have and wants cheap food is repetition of that very mythology that was and still is promoted and got us into this current food system where corporate food companies make all the money and we are left with very expensive health care, poor health and little choice in what we eat.
      Tim Wightman

      February 8th, 2013 9:01 pm Reply
      • Brad Wilson

        Tim has it backwards here regarding the first farm bill. It helped farmers fight against corporate exploitation from the buyers of farm commodities like wheat, rice, corn and cotton. It did a great job. It’s the reduction (1953-1995) and elimination (1996-2013) of those programs that has been the growing problem. Subsidies cover up a small part of that, but the big benefits have been the cheaper and cheaper prices that Agribusiness buyers have had to pay. Read Wenonah Hauter’s new book Foodopoly on this history, chapter 1. (or click my name)

        February 12th, 2013 8:44 am Reply
  • Jolene

    Ok, gotta tell you…from someone who really doesn’t know anything about the ins and outs of being a farmer, what I got from that commercial was 1.) Farmers work hard. 2.) Not just anyone can do that job – hence why GOD created that special kind of people to do just that 3.)People who do chose this path in life deserve a lot of respect.

    Apparently from all the uproar, I missed something huge. I thought it was a nice, nostalgic commercial that made me grateful to farmers, their families and the food I get….and I do try and eat mostly whole foods.

    February 8th, 2013 12:43 pm Reply
    • Cathy


      February 8th, 2013 12:53 pm Reply
    • Christina E.

      Same here

      February 8th, 2013 1:07 pm Reply
      • elaine

        me too! it reminded me of how lucky i am to have small farms nearby, and how hard they work.

        February 8th, 2013 9:58 pm Reply
    • Carla T Grytdal

      That’s what I got out of the commercial too.

      February 9th, 2013 6:01 pm Reply
      • Sherry Johnson

        A sustainable small family farmer who totally agrees with you…

        February 10th, 2013 8:23 pm Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    The corporate food system is one of the worst things that has ever been done. I support sustainable farmers as much as I can, and buy directly from the farmer whenever possible.

    This article makes a great point.

    February 8th, 2013 12:32 pm Reply
    • Jamil Avdiyev

      I think Tim Wightman has among the most sustainable approaches around and by quite a long shot. For those who don’t know him, Tim is involved in the nutrient dense farming community. While mainstream organic farming may more sustainable for the environment, it is far less sustainable for our health. Our foods have been declining in nutrition because of soil depletion and Tim has played a role in turning this ugly trend around. Weston Price observed the relationship between soil depletion physical degeneration. We need a lot more people like Tim to have truly nutrient dense food because a tiny a portion of the farms in this country do nutrient dense farming and a portion of them are successful.

      February 10th, 2013 2:15 pm Reply
  • SoCalGT

    1978 was the year before I graduated high school. Few of the farms in our area at the time still exist. I am so sad when back home to see so few of these family farms left. It just seems like yesterday when nearly everyone I knew lived on one.

    February 8th, 2013 12:44 am Reply
  • Sherri

    When our family saw the commercial the next day, we applauded because we saw the America we used to have and still want to have. We saw honest, hard working men, women and children who have their priorities straight! We saw people taking care of God’s creatures – animals and people – and who know Who it is who created them. In a time of our country when Christians are the minority and our forefather’s values are being undermined and done away with, it was refreshing and encouraging to hear a commercial on national TV that acknowledged God and showed the type of work ethic America was founded on.

    I agree that Big Ag ruined the farming system in America, but I just don’t see that in this commercial. Instead, I saw a company who had the guts to show a picture of a church (a Christian church no doubt) and use the name of God reverently. Those items are becoming rare nowadays in our culture.

    Our family has been on both sides of the fence on farming. For over 40+ years, we lived in the cities and consumed…never caring where our food came from. For the past 4 years, we have lived on the farm trying to become self-sustainable, learn and grow our own food, and extra for those around us who aren’t so fortunate. We feel very blessed to be on the farm. And yes, we could identify with most in that commercial…even in our short 4 years of experience.

    February 8th, 2013 12:12 am Reply
    • Carla T Grytdal

      Thank you for speaking up. Having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s in the wheat fields of Washington State, I saw the same thing you did.

      February 9th, 2013 6:00 pm Reply
    • Megan

      yah me too. and they were saying grace at the table too.

      February 10th, 2013 9:13 am Reply
    • Cindy

      I agree. I saw it as a tribute to ALL farmers, which is very refreshing.

      February 11th, 2013 12:36 pm Reply
    • Sue

      I agree with you Sherri. I am the 5th generation and my children are the sixth generation to grow up on a farm, work hard, learn a work ethic and care for God’s creatures. We teach our children to love God, the land and animals and respect their elders and others. May we all be blessed to continue to reap what we sow and go to bed each night tired and sore knowing were are living the right way NOT the easy way.

      February 13th, 2013 3:34 pm Reply
    • Melissa

      Can you direct me to where they use God’s name? (Jehovah). I missed that! Thanks.

      March 5th, 2013 9:56 pm Reply
  • Sarah A.

    While I am not a sustainable farmer, I try to support them every chance that I can. This is what I thought when I saw the video. Too bad Dodge is owned by GM (Government Motors) the same ones that want to destroy the farmer b/c Big Ag is lining the gov’t pockets to keep their policies in play.

    Time to say no to Big Ag and the people they pay off… and that includes General Motors.

    February 7th, 2013 10:35 pm Reply
    • Mel Haun Sr

      “Too bad Dodge is owned by GM ( Government Motors )” Yes it would be if they were.
      Dodge is / part of Chrysler Motors, and paid off the loan Chrysler got… Partially with the help of a third party. Chrysler has had record profits since. Makes a great truck, and some of their cars ain’t bad either. <
      I was raised on a Farm, both my Grandparents were farmers. Dad's Parents were very advanced farmers, and with 4 Sons farmed an atrocious amount of land. Was mechanized early, came out of the depression quite well despite trying to feed many less fortunate including down to seed and animals. Mom's parents never had the first motorized device, and used horses up until his death. Neither of them ever drove. But they did quite well and left the 6 daughters a nice bounty. The only Son was taken WWII. All of them lived well beyond 80. I remember the times Grandpa taught me to hunt, and track…..

      February 10th, 2013 9:05 pm Reply
  • DRK

    US cattle herd is the smallest it has been in 60 years.

    February 7th, 2013 7:30 pm Reply
  • Sarah W

    I agree with Mr. Wightman’s response. It is outlined perfectly in Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” I know where he is coming from. I am purposely teaching my children to shop at the farmer’s market and locally.
    On the other hand, I am the fourth generation to live on our family farm; my children are the fifth. We grow a lot of our food and raise our own beef. I grew up on the farm and my father is still a farmer AND drives a Ram to boot! He always liked to listen to Paul Harvey on the radio at lunch time. When I saw this commercial, I thought of the small local farmers like my dad and uncles. It reminded me of being little and riding on the tractor planting tobacco, shucking corn and shelling beans and peas.
    I think the commercial was meant for farmers large and small scale. A person who is aware of the plight of the large scale farmer will look at the commercial and may come to the same conclusion as Mr. Wightman. For me, I saw five generations of my family in this commercial, especially my father.
    I am glad you posted this response. It raises awareness for the local, sustainable farm movement. Thank you for all that you do!

    February 7th, 2013 7:29 pm Reply
  • Tasha L.

    Farm subsidies are “legalized plunder”, one of the ways we are losing our freedoms in this country.

    Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Ezra T. Benson about farm subsidies and legalized plunder:

    “Students of history know that no government in the history of mankind has ever created any wealth. People who work create wealth. James R. Evans, in his inspiring book, ‘The Glorious Quest’ gives this simple illustration of legalized plunder:

    ‘Assume, for example, that we were farmers, and that we received a letter from the government telling us that we were going to get a thousand dollars this year for plowed up acreage. But rather than the normal method of collection, we were to take this letter and collect $69.71 from Bill Brown, at such and such an address, and $82.47 from Henry Jones, $59.80 from a Bill Smith, and so on down the line; that these men would make up our farm subsidy. “Neither you nor I, nor would 99 percent of the farmers, walk up and ring a man’s doorbell, hold out a hand and say, ‘Give me what you’ve earned even though I have not.’ We simply wouldn’t do it because we would be facing directly the violation of a moral law, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ In short, we would be held accountable for our actions.”

    The free creative energy of this choice nation “created more than 50% of all the world’s products and possessions in the short span of 160 years. The only imperfection in the system is the imperfection in man himself.” The last paragraph in this remarkable Evans book – which I commend to all – reads:

    ‘No historian of the future will ever be able to prove that the ideas of individual liberty practiced in the United States of America were a failure. He may be able to prove that we were not yet worthy of them. The choice is ours.’ ”

    -Ezra Taft Benson, former Secretary of Agriculture, from his book “The Proper Role of Government”

    February 7th, 2013 6:18 pm Reply
    • JB

      Something we should all know as fact. Thanks for the post.

      February 8th, 2013 1:47 pm Reply
    • Brad Wilson

      There were no farm commodity subsidies during the Benson adminstration (ie. Eisenhower 1952-60). Benson himself strongly supported the real but hidden “legalized plunder” against farmers, the lowering of fair price standards. It is well known and supported by abundant econometric data that farm commodities “lack price responsiveness” on “both the supply and the demand sides.” Deregulated “free” markets don’t work. The result has been the US, the world’s dominant agricultural exporter, losing money on farm exports for decades. It’s anti business, anti-farmer, anti-rural regions, and anti-American. Meanwhile, as Benson and the others lowered our price standards more and more, OPEC balanced supply and demand and raised it’s prices dramatically.

      February 12th, 2013 8:37 am Reply

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