You and I work at opposite ends of the ag industry: I work in Ag Manufacturing, where we build the equipment you use.
My husband works in the Shipping Department. With skilled hands he pressures up hydraulics, torques tires, and fastens safety chains. He marks shipping pins, touches up paint, takes pictures of pieces often claimed through Warranty, and reads the riot act to truck drivers who feel the need for speed. He is proud of his work - and scared of the Warranty Administrator. That's me.
I review the Pre-Delivery Inspection performed by your dealership. I compare it against in-house reports and photographs taken during testing and shipping of your machinery. I approve or deny the claims, based on whether we screwed up or it was damaged in transit.
And then the machinery is delivered to you: the farmer. You walk around a machine worth nearly a half-million dollars and, with eagle eyes, you look for everything from leaking hoses to rust spots and missing decals. Within 6 short weeks, you will know this machine inside out: its capabilities and limits, its quirks and strengths and weaknesses, and why we claim to build the brand that produce the best crops.
What you probably don't know is that, as you become an expert on our machinery, I am learning from you.
I learn about the long hours you put in from the voice mails on my phone and the tired voices of our Service crew. I learn about all the elements beyond your control by following your social media accounts. I learn about the hazards of your job from the news, and I weep when a life is lost on your family's farm. I am continuously learning from you, and continuously praying for you.
I wave to every farmer in the cab of a tractor: whether in the field or on the road. And I pray for your safety and prosperity. I drive past you slowly, and often in tears. I see you.
I listen to news broadcasts and weather forecasts and lunchroom chatter. And I pray for sunshine and rain and wind and snowy winters - but not excessive amounts. I remind God to send just what you need and no more ... like He needs my instruction!
I sign petitions so that family farms do not fall under the same labor laws as other employers. I get righteously indignant at city slickers who think all tragic accidents are avoidable. I smile at teenage boys who rip out of school parking lots because they can't wait to be in a tractor.
I question dealerships about why they didn't repair your machinery in a timely manner. I challenge our QA team to step up their game. I sit in meetings to explain why spending less money in Warranty isn't as easy as saying "No." I deal in shades of gray when it's not really Warranty but it's the right thing to do. And sometimes I say "No" and hold my breath while waiting to see who's going to challenge me: you or your dealership.
I shake your hand when you come to meet with our Executives and talk about how to improve our product. I smile when I see you critique our engineers during an open house event - because you are the true expert in the field. I am so proud when you give us a verbal acknowledgement or a great review on social media! Because you are helping us work toward excellence. You recognize that we're trying hard to be the customer's best choice.
As we move through another seeding season, I would like to thank you for who you are and what you do. Thank you for your patience: with your livestock, the crops, your hired hands, your dealership, and your manufacturers. Thank you for your eye for detail, your nurturing spirit, your common sense approach to life, and your never-say-die character. Thank you for the years of study, the years of experience, and the dedication to the ag lifestyle. Thank you for eating in the field so that your field will feed us.
May you live long and prosper. May your crops keep growing and your equipment keep going. May your family enjoy health and your efforts yield wealth. May the gophers die and the corn stalks stretch high.
God bless you, Farmer.