I was making my annual pilgrimage from beautiful East Texas up north this week, and of course, I was looking, as I always do, at what farmers are doing. 

There wasn’t as much activity as there sometimes is, but I could see good stands of rice from those who’d gotten theirs in early – and water standing in the weedy fields of those who had not. 

The direction I travel, through Arkansas and Missouri, the terrain is mostly made up of big, beautiful forests. Then, when entering Illinois, it’s back to farmland. Most had planted and some crops were coming up nicely, while others had a lot of winter weeds still to contend with. 

I thought of all the farmers I’ve spoken to over the years and how they each have their own approach to the art and science of farming, but they all chomp at the bit to get started, watch somewhat anxiously to see their crops emerge, and then tend them as carefully as they can to harvest every single grain (This varies slightly for fruit and vegetable growers, but you get the idea). But regardless of circumstances, farmers keep on keeping on.

In comparison, there’s been a lot of talk about how people who work in office jobs are “quiet quitting” – phoning it in, we used to say, back when we were expected to show up in the office. There’s no quiet quitting in farming, though.

There’s no going through the motions with today’s farmers. The stakes are too high, the margins too thin.

You don’t quiet quit farming

And most of them don’t quiet quit their suppliers. They tell you if something’s wrong or needs improvement. But when you don’t listen or choose not to make things better, they find another way to get the job done.  

The only time I’ve seen quitting is when government makes it impossible to continue: higher taxes; water use restrictions; impossible regulations that make compliance too costly to survive; manipulation of the markets that brings commodity prices down, input costs up, or both. 

We’ve also heard a lot about farmers’ mental health. As my dairy farmer cousin once said, most farmer stress can be relieved by higher commodity prices. 

So, this spring season, let’s not quiet quit on our farmer customers. Let’s be there to help ease their burden, not add to it.