Raise the Standard of Farming

Raise the Standard of Farming


May I be allowed a small space in your valuable paper to speak a word to brother farmers on the question of the young folks leaving the farm? Although I am not, to say, a farmer on a large scale, but a rural mail carrier driving through the farmers’ community daily, still I suppose I should take some side like the professor in the following incident: “What were the doings over at the town hall last evening?” asked a farmer of his neighbor. “Oh, Professor Theopas Felex was lecturing on the potato bug.” “By gum! I missed it, but say was he for the bug or against it?”

I want to tell the farmers about a man who wrote a letter to the “Globe,” and if he was right he has struck at the root of the great question of the young folks leaving the farm. He was an old man seventy-three years old - a lumberman! He passed down the wayside some time ago with a heavy war club in his hand well loaded up for the farmers. He said the farmers themselves were to blame for the help leaving the farm, because they taught, by example and other ways, that the farm was a life of drudgery; that a farmer was easily imposed on, and if the young people wanted to amount to anything they must get off the farm, which they did, and the farmer was left alone without help. Now if what this fellow says is so - and there is much truth about it when we consider the great majority of the city folks came off the farm - would not the remedy be to raise up the standard of the farmer and make the farmer’s calling worthy of the name it deserves. When we consider the Scriptural phrase, “the king himself is served by the field,” how great is the calling of the farmer; sitting down himself at the first table, and kings and princes knocking at his door for food. Of course, he doesn’t make people line up and back up and gee-haw in order to get it, but, as they say of other laws, it is down on the statute books and he may enforce it sometime.

Why should a farmer be known by the clothes that he wears, or for any other reason? Of course, in times past there were more reasons to pick him out than now.

In closing I want to tell about a rather amusing thing that happened one farmers’ day at the Toronto Exhibition, over a quarter of a century ago. It was rather against the farmer then, but will go to show how he has seen and heard and come up in a quarter of a century. Well, to resume, twenty-six years ago come next farmers’ day, as a fellow away out in ------ Township would say, I went for the first time to the Toronto Exhibition. It was farmers’ day and many farmers were there from all parts - from away back, and a long way back, there would be some reason to suppose. They were taking in the sights, seeing the stock, the midway, the snake charmer, the fat man, the gay Paree dance and many funny sights, when suddenly something happened that wasn’t down on the program for farmers’ day. It was a dreadfully warm day and a lady fainted on the grounds. The ambulance was called out and came swiftly, drawn by galloping horses, and the farmers by the hundred actually ran after it like a lot of small boys would run after a peanut wagon. The sight was something they never appeared to have seen before. One big fellow who stood his ground, and who looked like a Yankee, with his ears well stayed up with a high, white, linen collar, made a remark something to this effect: “Well, it is easy for a fellow to know that this is farmers’ day at the Exhibition.” But this was twenty-six years ago, and a farmer now - with his automobile and tractor plow at home - would require something more than an aeroplane flying over his head to attract his attention, so great have been the changes in those years.

As this has been my first attempt to write to a farm journal, I have many reasons to suppose that this will meet the same fate as did an article that a fellow once sent to a paper. He had no doubt but that his article would appear on the first column of the paper. He called on the editor next day and said: “I wrote an article for your paper, did you carry out my ideas?” and the editor said, “Sir, did you notice a boy carrying out a bundle of papers as you came in?” “Oh yes, I just met him,” “Well then,” said the editor, resuming his work, “that boy was carrying out your ideas.”

Peterboro Co.
A. Ward.


Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture