Early this spring an email popped up from Lauren Southard of Workman Publishing Co. Would I be interested in receiving a copy of, reading and sharing my thoughts on a newly published book Dear County Agent Guy?
I must have thought I’d have time on my hands to have replied, “Sure. Send a copy.”
Four months later it was my reading material during July’s family vacation. Now six months past that I’m huddled over the computer in the church lobby while the farm princess sings at choir practice . . . finally writing a review. However, I’d consider this a Christmas gift recommendation. Dear County Agent Guy is the book for anyone who grew up on, currently lives on or hopes to one day . . . farm.
The author is Jerry Nelson a former dairy farmer still living on his home farm in South Dakota with his wife Julie. He writes a weekly column “Dear County Agent Guy” titled after the letter he penned to the local county agent in 1996. It had been a wet summer. In the letter Nelson asks for herbicide advice. “. . . I have a weed problem. . .” he writes. “I am referring to cattails in my corn.”
So begins the colorful tales of calf pulling, hay baling, husband training and day trippin’ (or a dairy farmer’s vacation). Setting humor aside, Nelson also writes eloquently about the rather serious topics of farm safety and death.
“What do you say when a family farmer dies? Is it enough to say that his rows are straight, that his furrows ran true? That he kept his fences taut and that you never saw any thistles growing upon his land?”
Farm kid antics ranging from chore time to grand imaginative adventures on the prairie segue into the trials and tribulations of parenting. Nelson is quick to point out what most farm moms have wondered – how can a livestock farmer wade through manure and mud all day, but have issues with a simple dirty diaper?
The book is divided into three parts; the titles of which offer insight into Nelson’s view of farm life:
- Living the Country Life, or why ‘Let’s get plowed!’ doesn’t mean the same thing to city folks as it does to farmers.
- How to Raise Farm-Fresh Kids in Twenty-Five Years or Less!
- Never Kick A Fresh Cow-Pie
It is Nelson’s authentic understanding of farm living that resonates with the reader. “We were half a million dollars in debt and thoroughly convinced that we were living the American farming dream.” Amen!
In the lazy days of August, I found the farm princess thumbing through Nelson’s compilation.
“Mom,” she exclaimed. “This is so funny. I feel like Papa and Grandpa are telling these stories.”
Now that’s a 5-star review!
Order Dear County Agent Guy at https://www.workman.com/products/dear-county-agent-guy.