A New Orleans newspaper reported an average of 108.4 million viewers watched this year’s Super Bowl. At one time, 164.1 million viewers were watching the broadcast. You can bet most of those viewers were also watching the commercials and not skipping over them with their DVR systems. During the fourth quarter, Dodge ran a two minute commercial for their Ram line of trucks. This ad, during the largest televised event of the year, gave America’s farmers a shout out and a very impressionable one at that evidenced by ranking the most popular commercial in the polls.
The Dodge Ram commercial began with one of many shots of America’s farmland: a cow standing in a snowy pasture and Paul Harvey’s name in blank type across the screen. Then, the voice of Harvey, the late radio broadcaster, began. What continued was his “God Made a Farmer” speech from the 1978 Future Farmers of America convention. During the two minute spot, Harvey’s speech was set to brilliant photos of America’s hardworking farmers (men, women, and children), their land, livestock, equipment, and aspects of their lives.
His speech began with an allusion to the story of Genesis: “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer.”
Harvey continued to describe God’s desires for the type of person he needed to take care of the land, crops, animals, and communities. Harvey followed with “So God made a farmer,” as an answer.
Even though the speech was from 1978, I truly believe that the “farmer” Harvey describes can be found on today’s farms and in rural communities. Both sides of my husband’s family are a testament to Harvey’s speech, as well as the many Illinois farm families I have come to know over the years.
I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing the commercial air live since I was busying putting my little ones to bed, and I really wish I would have. My husband, who is a full-time farmer, caught the commercial and watched it a few times until I returned downstairs to watch it with him.
From the start, I was captivated by Harvey’s smooth tone set against the backdrop of a slideshow of awesome photographs of God’s country. I listened to the “God Made a Farmer” recording and thought to myself, ‘Yes, he’s got it right, that’s America’s farmers, and that’s my husband and his family!’ I could clearly put family members’ faces to Harvey’s descriptions of farmers. And I wanted to call my family members, who are not farmers, and proudly shout, ‘Did you see that farmer commercial? That’s my husband!’
I’ve viewed the commercial multiple times, and every time I tear up at the end of the speech when Harvey talks about a son wanting to farm just like his father. Those are the men in my husband’s family who, generation after generation, have chosen to farm. And one day, that son will hopefully be our son, if he chooses to farm alongside his own father and grandfather.
The commercial ended with silence as the last pictures came on screen. Ram dedicate the aid “To the farmer in all of us” which was printed on the last photo of a Ram truck.
Thank you, Dodge, for highlighting the time, dedication, patience, strength, “guts,” and “glory” it takes to be a farmer and feed America.
And, thank you, God, for making farmers.
Kristen is a city-gone-country girl after her marriage to her husband, Grant, who is a full-time farmer. You can follow her stories and adventures on her blog at http://farmnoteslittledahinda.blogspot.com.