National Agriculture Day was first proclaimed by a U.S. president on March 23, 2016. It was proposed and is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. Greg Horstmeier, chair of the council’s board, says, “it reminds everyone that the affordable, abundant, and nutritious food that they depend on every day comes to them thanks to the hard work and resilience of 2 million American farmers and ranchers.”
Wendell Berry (1934 – ) American essayist, novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. He was born in Henry County, Kentucky. Both his parents came from families that had farmed the area for at least five generations. In 1958, he won a fellowship to Stanford University’s creative writing program. Berry published his first novel, Nathan Coulter, in 1960. He has gone on to write more novels, essay collections, and several books of poetry. Berry has long been an opponent of war, nuclear power, and the increasing human plundering of the planet’s natural resources. He has been honored with dozens of awards, including the National Humanities Medal in 2010, and the 2016 Sidney Lanier Prize.
To read Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Man Born to Farming” click:
The Man Born to Farming
by Wendell Berry
The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark?
“The Man Born to Farming” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, © 1998 by Wendell Berry – Counterpoint Press