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Monday, December 22, 2014
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(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Editorial: Appreciate our farmers here in Southwest Louisiana

Last Modified: Friday, February 08, 2013 5:46 PM

Some time in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s Super Bowl, the broadcast cut away from the game in New Orleans Superdome for the obligatory commercials.

For the next two minutes, viewers were reminded of farmers’ contributions to our nation and to our very existence via an ode by the late Paul Harvey.

Though many of the references and photos harkened to this country’s farming heartland in the Midwest, it made us pause and re-appreciate our farmers here in Southwest Louisiana.

Harvey referred to a farmer finishing his 40-hour week by noon Tuesday, then working another 72 hours. That’s certainly applicable here.

A line from the original speech Harvey delivered in 1978 also read: God said, ... Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.

What Harvey didn’t say was that God also needed someone who would withstand the vagrancies of not enough or too much rain, too hot or too cold temperatures, intrusion of salt water, disease and insects — all of which ate away at the farmer’s daily work and annual profits — and despite all of those setbacks and hardships that he had little or no control over, never gave up, and turned the soil over and planted again next season with renewed optimism.

Had he been born and raised here in our blessed plot instead of Oklahoma, Harvey might have added a line that God said, ‘‘I need someone who will walk his levees every day to check the water level in his rice fields and check the water content daily of the soil in his sugar cane and soybean fields and who will see the advantages of growing and harvesting crawfish to quench Southwest Louisiana’s appetite for these delicacies.’’ So God made a farmer.

Harvey also failed to mention the unfair trade policies embraced by foreign countries that close off markets and drive down prices, further eroding farmers’ profits.

Harvey finished his essay with these lines: “Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’” So God made a farmer.

Other Super Bowl commercials made us laugh. Budweiser’s Clydesdale spot and Jeep’s commercial honoring returning veterans touched our hearts.

But Harvey’s words about farmers and the accompanying photos on behalf of Dodge Ram Trucks touched our souls.

There’s a secondary lesson here. Advertising doesn’t have to be funny or zany or cute or sexy to get the message across.

Genuine and sincere works just fine.

So God made a farmer. And we’re genuine and sincere when we say, we’re thankful He did.

• • •

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

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