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The Ultimate Question: “Why?”

The Ultimate Question: “Why?”

While I was trying to come up with something to write about for this blog, I came across

a question. This question appears simple at first, but the more you think about it, you realize

that there is more to it than meets the eye.

The question is: “Why?” Why do farmers and ranchers do what they do? What could

possibly drive them to make all the sacrifices that they do?

Some of the sarcastic, joking responses were along the lines of, “For the huge paycheck,”

or, “Because of the great work hours.”

Although amusing, I wanted more. I wanted a true answer.

So, I set off to find an answer.

Sometimes when I can’t come up with an answer to a question I have, I figure out what

other people’s answers are. Often times, I find exactly what I am looking for. I am obsessed with

quotes for the simple fact that sometimes other people can say what I am thinking better than I


After a while spent searching the web, I found an answer. I found an answer that said

exactly what I wanted it to. I ask “Why?” and Wendell Berry answers perfectly.

“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many

frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: "Love. They must

do it for love." Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the

growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors.

They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where

they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like

to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the

measure of independence that farm life can still provide.”

- Wendell Berry

I believe that he hit the nail right square on the head with that one. I certainly can’t come

up with a way to say it better, or anything to add. He does an excellent job of summing it up.

You may say “All you did was quote someone else,” or ask “Why didn’t you come up with

your own answer?”

Well, why beat your brains over something, when someone else has already done so

perfectly? No one ever said you had to reinvent the wheel.

Why do farmers farm? They must do it for love.

At least, that’s how it appears on this side of the fence.

-Collin Witte, Iowa Representative

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