Agriculture and the Greatest Generation

Agriculture and the Greatest Generation


I answered last week, “Why Edgefield? Why Agriculture?


I shared our mid-life decision to move to rural Edgefield County, South Carolina and to promote Sustainable Agriculture. Included was a link to a 45-minute web-interview with Karen Hurd of WomanWize Healthy Living, discussing in greater depth our investment in agriculture as a long-term investment.  I called it a 40-year investment.  Stated differently, I view our investment as a generational investment.


As Karen emphasized, “often the consequences of our actions in agriculture aren’t felt for a generation.  The regenerative process of sustainable agriculture takes time, but nature is designed to be renewed. (paraphrased).  You can listen to the entire interview by going to


Many of my editorials since 2016 emphasize the theme that “most of life’s issues are non-respecter of person issues.”  Not an exhaustive list, but some issues I’ve discussed include: The Importance of Attitude, Discouragement, The Importance of Work, The Laws of Wealth Creation and Poverty and The Importance of Fatherhood (four weeks).


What I mean by “non-respecter of person” is simply that it doesn’t matter whether you come from a rural area or an urban area; whether you are born into a middle-class family or on either side of the middle class; and whatever your race, your creed, your nationality or your religion, how individuals and families face these issues and others, impacts everyone the same.


On August 5th, Shane Williams, Pastor of Ministries at TrueNorth Church commented in his sermon, titled “Who Is in Your Circle,” that every teenager today needs to spend a summer working on a farm.

I believe Shane is right.  Last week I noted that less than 2 % of Americans today are involved in agriculture– a major shift from 100 years ago when close to 30 % of all Americans were involved in Agriculture.


Today, farmers I know who conduct farm tours for middle schoolers, often times find it is the first time these young adults have set foot on a farm or have witnessed the production of food that is so critical to their very existence.


That is a sharp contrast to our grandparents generation, often referred to as “The Greatest Generation,” which grew up on farms, where at young ages they learned most important “non-respecter of person values” such as: the value of life, the value of hard work (stated differently how slothfulness and procrastination yields long term negative consequences on your harvest); and the value of water, economics, animal welfare, soil welfare, welding, electricity, mechanics, gravity, and a whole host of other daily activities where their execution determined the financial well-being of their lowest level of civil governance, their family.


When this greatest generation went to defeat tyranny on foreign soils, their victory reflected the leadership of our republic. But it also reflected the common sense these heroic individuals learned “down on the farm.”  What set the American soldier apart was his innovation – without heavy dependence on senior leaders.


I think Pastor Williams has a tremendous point for helping us instill the next generation with these critically important values.  But how to inspire them to participate, even if only for a brief season, in an industry so critical to our health and well-being?


I am finishing a book on the Kennedy’s, and was impressed by John F. Kennedy’s creation of The Peace Corps, where young Americans invested a season of their life overseas to help developing countries.

I dream of a program for the next generation to invest a season of their life – not going overseas, but into the rural fields of agriculture or even the modern urban fields of hydroponics or aeroponics, where modern 21stcentury agriculture is revolutionizing the industry. Imagine if we could take thousands of kids out of urban areas, where there often is a sense of hopelessness, for a season learning about all the values outlined above!

Perhaps that sounds unrealistic and implausible.  Perhaps it is.  But consider Robert F. Kennedy’s paraphrase of George Bernard Shaw:

“Some men see things as they are and ask, why?  I dream of things that never were and ask, why not?”

Here’s wishing you a productive week.