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And on the eighth day, farmers were recognized for their passion!

Published: Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 2:05 p.m. CDT

You probably saw it last Sunday night during the big game. And if you didn’t see it during the big game, you saw it on Facebook, Twitter or even this week on one of the morning television shows. You may even have heard about it from a friend or a coworker.

Heck, hundreds of millions of people have seen it and are talking about it. And because of it, mentions of “farmer” on Facebook increased 1.8 million percent when the commercial aired.

I’m talking about the Dodge Ram commercial — “So God Made A Farmer.”

Narrated by the iconic Paul Harvey, the spot tugged on the heartstrings of people across the country — aggies and non-aggies alike. Everyone I talked to said the room went quiet when the commercial came on. In my opinion it’s a must see! If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out on the Bureau County Farm Bureau Facebook page or our website at www.bureaucountyfarmbureau.org!

It was a powerful spot with powerful imagery, words and sentiments. But, there’s more to the story — at least for me, as a farm girl.

For me, it tied my cherished childhood memories and my life’s passion into one neat little two-minute package.

It brought back memories of building fence and riding in the tractor with Dad or piling in the truck with Grandpa, all while listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. Great memories because for as long as I can remember, my dad and my grandpa were my heroes — they were farmers!

But it wasn’t just a flood of those childhood memories or the pride of sharing this lifestyle with my two small children. That poem in the commercial is not a new creation — this poem that Paul Harvey recited with so much conviction and care was recited during Paul’s speech years ago at the 1978 National FFA Convention.

Memories of my heroes and FFA memories wrapped up in one commercial? Can it get any better? Why, yes, it can, if it makes those with questions about agriculture more open to listen to a real farmer and not media spam. And it encourages open and honest dialogue about what really happens on our farms.

The commercial represents more than childhood memories or countless hours spent on record books or traveling to conventions and contests. It was a statement on the American farmer and agriculture. It was a statement about me and my family and my friends.

And that statement was made before a record-setting television broadcast, reaching tens of millions of people.

Those of us who are involved in agriculture today know there are those who support us and those who are against us — and those who don’t know in which camp to pitch their tents, so they go the easy route and follow whatever media tells them.

But this commercial gave farmers, farm families and agriculture an added, national voice. In today’s complicated food culture, it could be just the nudge consumers need to reach out to farmers and ask questions about biotechnology, animal care, pesticides or conservation practices. And it just might be the nudge farmers need to step up and answer those questions in a thoughtful and honest manner.

In the end, the commercial provided a national stage for farmers and consumers across the country. It wasn’t speaking only to the 2 percent of Americans who farm or the 98 percent of Americans who don’t. As the commercial itself said, it was speaking to the farmer in all of us.

And finally, as if the commercial wasn’t cool enough to begin with, the ad is serving as a fundraiser of sorts. Each time the ad is shared or watched, Dodge will donate money to the National FFA Organization — an organization that has impacted me personally and an organization that has been charged with shaping future agricultural leaders for 85 years — up to $1 million. I personally can’t think of a better tribute to farmers, to be honest.

And that, my friends, is the rest of the story.

Jill Frueh is the manager at the Bureau County Farm Bureau.

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