When I started my career in advertising my very first account was Case IH farm equipment. Case IH makes the red tractors, combines and implements that dot the American countryside. I was hired to work on the account because I have a farming background. In my job interview I shocked the ad agency leaders with my knowledge of PTOs, disk harrows and 12-row heads. I know these things because I come from a long line of farmers. My mom is one of nine farm kids. My dad is one of twelve.
As part of that first job I did a lot of research, talking to farmers about their wants and needs. In one of those conversations a farmer shared a quote with me that I will never forget. He said,
You will never find a farmer in Vegas. Because we are gambling out here every day.
A Farmer’s Reality
Farmers are gamblers who bet on themselves. They are the ultimate entrepreneurs. They eat and breathe their work. Literally. They work from sun-up until sun-down. They reap what they sow. But to farmers, these are not clichés. These are the facts of life.
But here is the scariest reality of farming: A farmer can work tirelessly every day, follow the best formula for success, never make the same mistake twice, and still go bust.
This is because a farmer does not control his or her own fate. They are at the complete mercy of Mother Nature. And Mother Nature doesn’t play fair. She doesn’t care how hard you work. Or that you’ve invested every dime you have into this year’s crop. And no one is immune to the whims of Mother Nature (except maybe the people who live in San Diego).
So the farmer can do everything in his or her power to grow a bumper crop, and then there is no rain. Or too much rain. Or a killing frost. Or flattening wind. Or hail. Or an eff-ing grasshopper plague.
So this time of year, when the frost is on the pumpkin and the hay is in the barn, farmers are more thankful than you could ever imagine. While all Americans are thankful today, they are not as thankful as farmers.
The moment I started planning to launch my advertising agency, I felt like I was getting back to my farming roots. Because I was betting everything on my ability to grow my own crops. But instead of producing corn, soybeans and milk, I would be growing creative ideas. And the hard thing about growing creative ideas is that you can’t buy the seeds from Monsanto.
Today, I am experiencing farmer-strength thankfulness. The Weaponry, the advertising and idea agency that I started in 2016, has transformed from a dream with a plan to a physical business with walls, doors and desks. We have world-class employees. We have great clients. And we are cranking out ideas like Iowa cranks out corn.
6 things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.
- Today I’m thankful for my wife Dawn, who has demonstrated unwavering faith in my ability to feed, clothe and shelter our family.
- I’m thankful for my kids who share my love for ideas, adventure and creation.
- I’m thankful for my team of smart, self-driven creatives who produce valuable ideas every day.
- I’m thankful to my clients who have trusted The Weaponry to help them create the strategies and ideas they need to grow and thrive.
- I’m thankful for all of my friends. For handshakes and hugs. I’m thankful for those who will take my phone calls and reply to my texts. For the friends who have joined me this year for chocolate milk or a meal. And to those friends who like, comment or share something I post on social media.
- And on this day that we give thanks for the harvest I am especially thankful for my large farm family of Albrechts and Spraus. Our rich farming lineage has provided us all with a tremendous work ethic, a strong self-reliance, and a great appreciation for all that we have. Today we are working hard to pass the character traits that grow strong on farms on to our children. So that even though our offspring may never live on a farm, they will benefit from our family roots that reach deep into the rich black soil of Minnesota.
As you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast with friends and family take time to count your own blessings. As you pass the plates around the table remember where the food came from. And please say a little thank you for the farmer. Because surely they are saying thank you for you.
*If you decide to subscibe to this blog I woud be extremely thankful too.
2 thoughts on “Are you as thankful as a farmer?”
First and foremost, I’m thankful for your friendship and the journey we were on together at Engauge.
I’m thankful that you took the leap and are living your dream! Your entire life was so obviously leading toward this time, and I’m thankful you finally made it happen.
I’m thankful that you continue to share your experience via this blog, inspiring so many people on how to be positive, thankful, and ambitious all at once (it IS possible!)
I’m thankful that there’s another agency out there that has great values and treats their team, and their customers, with respect.
I’m thankful that you and I share the same belief that our families come first, second, and third. Nothing else is more important.
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This ranks as the all time greatest comment! Thanks Jeff! I’m thankful for your friendship, your support and your wisdom. I’m thankful for your interest in my adventure. And yes, family above all else! I look forward to getting together before the new year!