Dr. Val FarmerDr.Val
Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Two Poems From The Heartland

March 20, 2000

I met a farmer and a rancher this past winter who shared poems from their hearts. I am using their poems with permission.

Loren Ingrebretsen farmed near Fulton, Minnesota. He and his wife attended a retreat for farm couples leaving agriculture. He read this poem at the retreat.

A TIME TO STOP by Loren R. Ingebretsen

In the recesses of my memory

In a place that is safe and warm,

Lives a boy, without any fears,

Playing, on the farm!


That boy grew up simply,

In an environment safe from harm.

Learning that work is a gift from God.

It was part of living, on the farm!


That last day before college,

With unknown fears to shield,

I needed time to think it out,

So, I drove a tractor to the field!


I met a girl so special,

And asked her to be my wife.

Together, we returned to the farm,

To give our children a start in life!


Twenty five years we toiled,

Our children: our finest crop.

And now with Ag prices so low,

We feel it is time to stop!


From the depths of my soul,

There is a terrible ache.

And yet, I know the time is right,

For the decision, we must make!


God calls to me from somewhere,

Saying, "I have kept you from harm."

'Don't you know, there's more than raising crops?'

"Living on the farm!"


So, we will rent out the land,

And take the hand of the One we know,

For He has always been with us,

Showing us where to go!


I understand more fully now,

That what kept me safe from harm,

Is that God was and is the firm foundation,

Of life on our farm!


Ron Tebow is a rancher from Moses Lake, Washington. He attended a stress management program for farmers, ranchers and orchardists in North Central Washington facing economic hardship. He recited this poem at the gathering.


His lineage defined him a peasant

Never to receive a higher call.

A laborer is the service of the King

Counted least among them all.


But with diligence he approached his tasks,

His integrity was on the line.

He figured the endeavor to which he was attached

Was worthy of his time.


So without applause or recognition

He quietly completed the job that he'd began.

Drawn by the notion that his reward

Was in doin the best job he can.


He never saw his name in print,

No trophy or plaque he'd hang up on his wall,

But the epitaph inscribed on his tombstone read,

"He more than fulfilled his call."


Now I present you with this metaphor

A scenario that each one of us face.

An issue that invaded our lives individually

If we're counted in the human race.


I speak of the farmers and ranchers

Who've taken on the job of feedin' us all.

They stand as a lonely remnant

Gladly willin' ta answer their call.


They're not drawn by currency

Or the need to accumulate things.

Many times their only compensation is the smell of a fresh cut field of hay

Or the song that a Meadow Lark sings.


So I challenge you, the next time you sit down to a meal

And discover, by golly, there's food in front of you.

Consider the source of that alluring aroma

And give that peasant his due.