Advice For Farmers


My friend’s mom, Di van Niekerk, recently found this letter and poem of farmers’ advice when going through some old family documents.

I can’t say that it all applies to our endeavours at Klipopmekaar; but nevertheless this seems like good advice for those involved in farming…

My son, you say you want to be a farmer,
And there are many things you do not understand.
Farming is a mode of life and living
And not a job of getting cash on hand.

If you can love the land and living,
And not lose faith when dust is rolling high;
If you buy when other folks are selling,
And sell when other folks want to buy;
If you can win and not waste time boasting
And bragging of the things you’ve done;
If you can keep your farm work up to season
And still have time to have a little fun;
If you can plan a program that will give you
Feed for your stock in any kind of year;
If you can break a colt but not his spirit,
So that he will obey through love and not through fear;
If you can stay out all night in a blizzard

To keep your stock from dying in the snow
As day after day and back and forth you go;
If you can keep your mind at peace while ploughing
If you can meet your banker without whining
Whenever a note comes due you cannot pay;
If you can catch a vision of the future
Through the clouds that overshadow you today;
If you can remember every time you need them
Where last you left the hammer, the saw, or screw;
If you can work with badly worn machinery
And not make the atmosphere around the blue;
If you can keep your books and tell which project
Of all you have is paying you the best;
If you can take advice from some old timer
And yet with modern methods keep abreast;
If you can raise a good share of your living,
Can either win or lose and keep you head;
If you can work in filth and not be filthy;
If you can be a friend to all about you,
And leave an honoured name when you are dead;
If you can do all this and keep your manly charm,
My son, you have the making of a farmer.

– Unknown Author