In a narrative dubbed over a video track of 35 images depicting America’s farmers and ranchers, the late Paul Harvey, in his trademark cadence, delivered the thoughtful message — “So God Made a Farmer” — captured from his keynote address at the 1978 Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention.

Sponsored by Dodge Ram pickups, the nearly two-minute Super Bowl spot kicked off a “Year of the Farmer” campaign to draw attention to the vital role that America’s farmers and ranchers play in providing food and fiber, not only for their fellow countrymen, but for the world.

In the video, developed in collaboration with the National FFA Organization, Dodge Ram set out to raise awareness and generate funds for FFA’s nationwide hunger relief efforts. Dodge Ram pledged to donate $100,000 for every one million views of the “So God Made a Farmer” video posted on YouTube — up to $1 million. The 10-million-views milestone was reached in less than a week. By Valentine’s Day, the YouTube counter had clicked past the 18-million mark.

Famous for his “…and now for the rest of the story” radio broadcasts, Harvey’s tribute to America’s farmers and ranchers will hopefully linger in the minds of the millions who watched the Super Bowl, as well as those who sought out and “liked” the YouTube video

See the video here. 

So God Made a Hog Farmer

It’s risky business to tamper with the thoughtful prose of an icon like Harvey. Still, I can’t resist the temptation to try. So with apologies to Mr. Harvey’s family, here is my attempt at, “So God Made a Hog Farmer.”

“On the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise that included the wily, yet noble, pig and said, ‘I need a caretaker,’ so God made a hog farmer.

“He said, ‘I need someone who will get up from a warm bed in the middle of a winter’s night to check on that jittery sow that is sure to farrow before morning. I need someone who will patiently sit on a 5-gallon bucket while a sow strains and delivers each newborn; someone who will remain attentive, knowing when to help, when to not. Someone who will collect each newborn piglet, dry him off and nudge him toward his first meal.’ So God made a hog farmer.

“God said, ‘I need someone who, at the end of a long and exhausting labor, feels more sad than disappointed when a sow has one or two stillborns, sometimes nothing more. Someone who will recognize the opportunity for this now barren mother; someone who will gather up the ‘fall behinds’ in other litters and transplant them to the new foster mother for a second chance.’ So God made a hog farmer.

“God said, ‘I need more caretakers who will provide comfortable quarters, nutritious diets, conscientious health care and respect every animal in their care.’

“God said, ‘I need someone who intuitively knows the proper time to invite their children and grandchildren to share the miracle of birth and then patiently answer a million questions about how this miracle has come about.’ So God made a hog farmer.

“God said, ‘I need mentors for the young boys and girls, the 4-H and FFA members, ready to learn, ready to pitch in, and ready to make a difference. I need mentors who will share their wisdom, foster a valuable work ethic and encourage them with: ‘Good job! Well done.’ So God made a hog farmer.

“God said, ‘I need someone who will encourage these youngsters to try their hardest, to teach the importance of winning graciously and humbly and, more importantly, to lose, and to congratulate the
victor — and mean it.’

“God said, ‘I need thoughtful men and women to teach the next generation to respect life and to generously and honorably provide wholesome nourishment to their fellow man.’ So God made a hog farmer.

“God said, ‘I need honest, hard-working men and women who, when faced with health challenges in their herds, short crops and dismal markets, will gather their respective talents and collectively work to solve these problems, the industry’s problems — and hang on.’ So God made a hog farmer.”

Returning now to Mr. Harvey’s closing words: “Somebody who will 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 (or daughter) says he (she) wants to spend his (her) life doing what dad does, so God made a (hog) farmer.”

I will close, then, as Paul Harvey ended each broadcast, wishing you, “Good day!”