The Farmer Is the Man

The Farmer Is the Man

"The Farmer Is the Man" is a venerable folksong of the plains, with origins at least as far back as the Populist movement of the 1890s, when it appeared in Farmers Alliance songbooks and was sung by Alliance glee clubs. The version here given is my adaptation composed for an occasion a century later--the annual meeting (16 March 1999) of the stockholders of the Probstfield Farm (just north of Moorhead, Minnesota), reincarnated as a community-based farm serving local customers.

The Farmer Is the Man
Copyright 1999 Tom Isern
The farmer comes to town with his wagon broken down,
But the farmer is the man who feeds them all.
If you'll only look and see, then I think you will agree
That the farmer is the man who feeds them all.

The farmer is the man, the farmer is the man,
Lives on credit 'til the fall.
Then they take him by the hand, and they lead him through the land,
And the middle man's the man who gets it all.

The lawyer hangs around while the butcher cuts a pound,
But the farmer is the man who feeds them all.
And the preacher and the cook go a-strolling by the brook,
But the farmer is the man who feeds them all.

When the banker says he's broke, and the merchant's up in smoke,
They forget that it's the farmer feeds them all.
It would put them to the test if the farmer took a rest
Because the farmer is the man who feeds them all.

(bridge)Then the farmer he left town, and the place was broken-down,
And the pigweeds and the thistles they were rife,
But the land in fallow lay, it was waiting for the day
When dreams and hands would bring it back to life.

Now the farmer's back in town, with his wagon broken down,
Once again he is the man who feeds them all.
Things are better now, no doubt, because the middleman's left out,
And the farmer is the man who feeds them all.

The farmer is the man, the farmer is the man,
Come and get your punkins in the fall!
Just put on your garden duds, bring a box and get your spuds–
Because the farmer is the man who feeds them all.