Did you know that Cheryl Rogowski is the first person to win a MacArthur genius award for farming?
Or that the number of female operated farms has doubled since 1978? Julia Moskin has an excellent article in today's NYT about how women are changing farming.
I admire farmers, especially because I come from a very short line of agrarian underachievers. If there had been a diagnosis of ADD in those days, most of my relatives surely would have qualified for simple lack of interest in their nominal vocation.
You see, some of my Norwegian ancestors believed that farming was easy, classy, and romantic. That's because they were book publishers who read somewhere that the Canadian government was giving away land. Predictably, they started daydreaming about the idyllic classless society they might built in a new world.
Careful what you wish for.
Long story short, my great grandfather spent his whole life as a farm procrastinator. That's a kind of avoidant virtuosity in its own right. As an occupation, farming is singularly inhospitable to those who put off anything they might do today at five a.m.
Family lore has it that great grandpa always had some reason not to farm this year. A gig as a government weed inspector? Great! A burgeoning practice as an amateur lawyer? Sure thing. Allegedly, it always sounded really persuasive when he explained it.
Luckily, Canada industrialized fast enough to get subsequent generations off the land.