Paying Tribute to “Just a Farmer, Plain & Simple”

A friend recently told me his grandpa had passed away.  His granddad had farmed in the same community his whole life — he was 90 and was still active, he had even helped with the lengthy weather-ravaged harvest this past fall.  From the stories I heard from the combine, I knew he must be loved by many.  The impact he had on others was also clear as the community mourned him — 500 or so people came out to show their sympathy.  What a tribute!

The following poem was this grandpa’s favorite and was read as part of the eulogy.  Glad to say I know quite a few men and women this poem could be about and, to all of them, I want to say thank you.  And I don’t want to wait on paying tribute to you.  Oh and for those on twitter, I’ll say it in hashtag form too #thankafarmer.  I hope you combine the humility of this poem, with a sense of pride as you tell your story.

I’m Just a Farmer, Plain and Simple
By Bobby Collier

I’m just a farmer,
Plain and simple.
Not of a royal birth
But rather, a worker of the earth.

I know not of riches
But rather, of patches on my britches
I know of draught and rain,
Of pleasure and pain.

I know of the good and the bad,
The happy and the sad.
I am a man of emotions.

A man who loves this land,
And the beauty of its sand.
I know of a spring’s fresh flow
And autumn’s golden glow,
Of a newborn calf’s hesitation,
And the eagle’s destination.

I know of tall pines,
And long, waiting lines.
Of the warmth of campfires,
And the agony of flat tires.

But I am a man who loves his job
And the life I live.

I am a man who works with God,
I cannot succeed without his help,
For you see,
I’m just a farmer
Plain and simple.

(Editor’s note:  I found this poem posted in lots of places around the internet but could not find a way to link back tot he author or his family.  I’d love to be able to do that and pay tribute to them as well so if anyone has an idea, just let me know.  Thanks!)

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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26 Responses to Paying Tribute to “Just a Farmer, Plain & Simple”

  1. mother sparrow March 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    Stumbled on your blog today. I love it! I spent my childhool growing up on a farm and it fuels my inspiration for much of my poetry. Thank you for sharing. I will be back often. May I add you to my blogroll?

    • Janice March 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

      Please do! Always nice to meet another person with a farm connection!

  2. Mike Haley March 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Thanks Janice,

    This poem was a favorite of both my grandfather, and one of his great friends who both passed away this past year at the age of 90, farming right up till the end.

    Mike

    • Janice March 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

      Thanks Mike. From the stories you told me of your grandfather he was a great person. Sorry for your loss.

  3. Greg May 10, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    JP: just Googled the poem. I sat at my grandmother’s table just a few months after my grandfather passed away in 1992 and I pulled this from the lazy Susan. She said gramps carried it around in his wallet just to remind himself that what he did was important and that he wasn’t a failure.

    Thanks for posting.

    • Janice May 12, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

      What a moving story! Seems this poem has been near & dear to many of the folks who have helped shape our lives and provide the food we all eat. You can thank @FarmerHaley though, it was part of his grandpa’s eulogy that drove me to find it. Once I had it readily available, I had to share it. Glad it warmed your heart, sure moves me!

  4. Karen July 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Stopping by from Time Travel Tuesday. I stumbled, already followed and Google +1 you! My post is http://practicalfrugality.blogspot.com/2011/07/earn-it-learn-it-teach-your-child.html

  5. Barbara July 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    What a beautiful poem!!

  6. Betty November 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Love this, seen it with a picture and framed, does anyone know I could get a copy?

    • Janice aka JPlovesCOTTON November 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      I don’t know of any places that sell them already done up, but you now have me thinking I should make that up! I could do the poem on the computer in a really nice font and and have a place like Kinkos printed on really nice paper. I could get a photo printed of a farmer I know and then put them together in a frame. Could be a nice personalized gift!

      • Ron Wohlschlaeger January 31, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

        Sorry I don’t have a website.

        I am curious, did you ever find a source for a copy of the poem possibly with a picture suitable for framing?

      • Janice Person February 1, 2013 at 11:57 am #

        I haven’t Ron, but tell you that you could take the text as written and a photo of a farmer in your family to FedEx Kinkos and they could work up a really nice piece for you. And the photo being personal would make it even more special.

  7. Shelby Farmer March 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    I read this during my grandpa’s funeral and made the whole room start to cry

    • Janice aka JPlovesCOTTON March 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

      I’m sure your grandpa was an incredible man! Thanks for sharing the love of farmers. I am sure your family appreciates it!

  8. Rod September 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Moving poem… farmers here at Philippines might not have the same situation in farmers in there, but they share a common thing “a man who loves his job and the life he lives”.

    • Janice Person September 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      I agree Rod! Having been to The Philippines & having met many farmers there, I had a chance to see some of the great people there loving their lives. I have several posts I’ve written on the topic too — check out http://janiceperson.com/tag/philippines10/ to see the posts I wrote on it. 🙂

  9. Debby Collier February 2, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    This is so amazing. My husband Bobby is the author of this poem. He penned this poem years ago as a state officer in FFA. When my daughter gave her retiring address as a state officer from FFA about 10 years ago she read her fathers poem. One of her team mates remembered it years later and asked to publish it with a farm organization publication. He is an amazing man with a passion for farming also teaching agriculture for over 30 years before retiring to the family farm. Our email is [email protected] and now that he is retired we are working on a website.

    • Janice Person aka JPlovesCOTTON February 2, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

      So nice to meet you online! As I said, I had tried to figure out a way to be sure the author & or family received credit for the effort….. The words are definitely appreciated! I hope you’ll keep me up on the website!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Just a Farmer, Plain and Simple « ag – a colorful adventure for this city girl - May 17, 2010

    […] a Farmer, Plain and Simple Posted on 2010/05/17 by Janice I posted the poem “I’m just a farmer, plain and simple” by Billie Collier a little while ago as a tribute to a friend’s grandpa.  The blog post has amazed me.  It […]

  2. Celebrating My Blog’s First Anniversary « ag – a colorful adventure for this city girl - October 5, 2010

    […] Paying Tribute to “Just a Farmer, Plain and Simple” and Just a Farmer, Plain and Simple – These two posts were put together quickly with the first honoring a good friend’s (Mike Haley) granddad as he passed. The poem by Billy Collier seems legendary in the ag community. Glad to learn about it and the greatest generation and their efforts on the farm and in our families. […]

  3. Standing Out by the Numbers — Top 10 Posts Read Here in 2011 | a colorful adventure - January 2, 2012

    […] Paying Tribute to “Just a Farmer, Plain & Simple” – This one should make Mike Haley of Haley Farms smile big time as it was a post I put together almost two years ago when Mike shared stories about the kind of person his grandpa was. His grandpa’s passing was a time to reflect on how great the contributions of farmers plain & simple are. What a great legacy! […]

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    […] the promise of spring and summer rains… and so much more. Most of them think they are “just a farmer” like in the poem but I think they are far more than”just a farmer, plain and […]

  6. A Song for the American Farmer by Steve Azar - a colorful adventure - September 28, 2014

    […] reminds me of the “Just a Farmer” poem I’ve posted previously. It also reminds me of my years living in the Mississippi […]

  7. Year-End Review -- Top 12 Posts of 2012 Plus Some - July 11, 2015

    […] Paying Tribute to “Just a Farmer, Plain & Simple” — This post just keeps going. It was written in March 2010 after my friend Mike Haley spent some time telling me about his granddad. It was clear his granddad and other farmers deserve a tribute and the poem that was read at the funeral was something I wasn’t familiar with. It is such a great tribute and it seems that search engines help other people find it for their farmer friends & family too. […]

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