Perceptions of Farmers

I’ve been searching for blog posts and articles about peoples knowledge of farmers. Many people have these stereotypes locked in their head from films that they’ve watched, but its interesting to hear peoples more considered perceptions of farmers.


‘British farmers tend to be typecast as the stiff upper lip, gentrified, tweed wearing, estate owning English country gent and I’m sure even those estate owning, previously wealthy, farmers are finding it hard to keep going at the moment.

Dennis Hitzeman

‘I think the stereotype of the “dumb farmer” exists because of something entirely unrelated to intelligence: too many farmers have no business sense, and it is their lack of business sense that causes them to lose their farms and helps create the impression they are not very smart.’

Farmers Weekly

The above link talks about the stereotypes of farmers shown in advertising. Companies use farmers because they are honest and earthy, but it gives off negative stereotypes of what they do, what they look like and what they sound like, using this video as an example

Knowledge –

Sarah Parsons

‘To farm you have to know soil science, microbiology, ecology, chemistry, business, social science, the list goes on and on.  Farming also requires knowing hard skills, such as carpentry, forestry, and engineering.  The farmer is likely the most underrated person in our society.  He or she has to know a little bit of everything!’

Carrie Davis – freelance writer and artist’

‘Not only are the farmers I know brilliant, but they’re also savvy business men and women. People who are proud of their products and love to tell you about their systems. They’re ridiculously hard workers who have a passion for stewarding the earth and the animals inhabiting it. Wonderful people who want to make a difference in the state of our current food industry. They are health care providers, offering the utmost quality food and nutrition so that you and your family can have the best possible health.’

Ray-Lin Dairy

‘more than the “Green acres” or Rockwell stereotype would suggest we use technology in our tractors and farms at rates that will make Steve Jobs and Bill Gates proud. Farmers are implementing software programs to farm smarter more efficient and at the same time benefiting the environment.’

Katlyn Pieper – Illinois State University

‘With a yield of 150 bushels to the acre, that would be about $1,000. Take out the $500 for the seed, fertilizers, crop insurance, storage, hired labor, and all things necessary to keep the crop healthy, and the farmer is left with $500 per acre. With that money they have to buy their big pieces of machinery, such as a tractor, planter, or combine. Still think they are rich?… For most farmers, their crop production is their only source of income. So after all the business operations are complete, they have to support their family. With all of that, they do not have the leisure of having the opportunity of calling in sick or just taking the day off.’

UC Davis – about Farmer David Mas Masumoto

‘Like the Masumotos, small-scale growers throughout the U.S. are looking for creative ways to set themselves apart as they find that survival requires more than just selling crops. Experts say these practices are shifting notions of how small farms operate. Since the little guys can’t beat corporate giants on price or production, they’re cashing in on something the big shots can’t provide: an intimate, personal experience.’ ‘In industry terms, it’s called value-added agriculture, and statistics show the practice is growing. According to the most recent data available, farm operators generated $10 billion in 2007 from farm-related activities other than crop or livestock wholesale, an increase of nearly 80 percent from 2002.’

Farmers Guardian

‘Many stockbrokers, millionaire businessmen and footballers own farms. As well as celebrity endorsements there should be a push to publicise celebrities who already own farms making it the ‘must have celebrity accessory’. ‘The success of farmers and the industry should also be showcased, to reflect the power of the industry. Inviting the business community and public in to farmer’s businesses and homes through glossy features and economic profiles will appeal to the wider public.’


Each of these articles or blog posts were carefully selected because they related to my project. Clearly, the public has stereotypes cemented in their heads about farmers due to advertising, film and television. They also believe that a story about a single farm or farmer to be universal, and thus creates an inaccurate stereotype. Perhaps because farmers are rural and outside the public eye, then people find it difficult to relate to the truth and live by their inaccurate stereotypes.

Sarah Parsons – Parsons article completely shows up the stereotype that farmers aren’t clever. I knew that farmers had to be skilled in what they do to do what they do, but the long list of science and engineering shows how skilled they actually are, and having a stereotype that says they aren’t clever is an insult.


Carrie Davis – Davis shows that farmers are the bedrock of our society. From farmers that I’ve met in my rural area of Thirsk, they are all incredibly nice people who want to give back to the community. For people who are working a lot for little pay, they are incredibly motivated because of their love that they have for their job, their morality prevails and provides healthy living for the rural area.

Ray-Lin Diary – Initially I was interested to see the impact of the digital age on agriculture but I dismissed it because I thought it would be difficult to show my findings. This article does show that the digital age has directly influenced agriculture; it shows that even though there are the stereotypes of farmers being locked in the 19th century with their barns and fields, it is clear that they use machinery to make production more efficient. There are masses of machines that farmers use for soil cultivation, fertilising, harvesting and planting. The skills that are needed to operate these are difficult to master, and my project with hopefully incorporate the skill that they have.

Katlyn Pieper – This article shows the harsh realities of farming which makes it increasingly difficult to work as a farmer. I know going into this project that its a profession that is difficult to make a living with, and I knew several farmers who’ve adapted to this changing environment. But this really does show how difficult it is, and the dedication and interest that farmers have for making it work. On a personal note; when I was in a lesson in year 9, we were given cards with jobs and the amount of pay that person gets a month. I was given a farmer card, of which I was incredibly happy with because I thought Farmers were really wealthy and had a great life. But of the card they got 1,300 a month, and little me found it incredibly difficult to carry out the activities of buying a car, buying food and buying clothes. I found it strange that someone with such a large house and has a job where they look after animals had a difficult time getting buy. Remembering this, and seeing these figures made me think; these people are incredibly skilled, incredibly motivated and incredibly knowledgable, why can’t they get more money, why can’t they be more respected and why can’t anyone do anything about this. The truth is, a lot don’t do anything because they enjoy it, or they don’t believe its necessary to do anything else. However there are a lot of farmers who are entrepreneurs and they find ways of getting recognition for their graft. The profession needs a lot more respect for what its been through, respect that can be shown through buying from farmers markets instead of supermarkets (who have worse quality anyway). Hopefully my project with show people the importance of this.

UC Davis – This is definitely my favourite article. I like to see it when people think outside the box to solve a problem and become an entrepreneur. In Masumotos case, they were creative to make books and broadcast what they do to their market. There is a market for everything, every professional will be able to find a separate market that relates to their job. The statistics showing value-added agriculture has increased by 80% shows the true skill and creativity of farmers. This is why I’m now so interested in the professional and interested to show people what farmers do, and hopefully make them receive the respect they deserve.


Farmers Guardian – This article basically expresses what I want from my project, to give the industry more recognition. The whole text summarises different aspects that I want to show through this assignment, and it shows that there is a market that my photography can appeal to.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s