Apparently there was some football game last Sunday that featured a 1978 Paul Harvey speech on farming. Harvey borrowed his "God Made a Farmer" speech from text circulating in small-town papers in the 1940s. Dodge borrowed Harvey's version to sell trucks.
And various agriculture advocates are borrowing this obsolete speech to peddle an image of farming that is about as accurate as a video of two blacksmiths building a Guts-and-Glory Dodge Ram pickup truck from scratch. The Dodge ad was more about what we miss about farming, what we wish it still was, what Monsanto and mega-dairies have destroyed and won't ever let return.
The Dodge ad also looked mighty white compared to the reality of the modern American agriculture labor force:
Our farming sector doesn't really look like that today. 75% of all farm workers in America were born in Mexico, and around 53% of those are undocumented. So it's quite a different picture than we expect [Stephen Keppel, interviewed by Jeremy Hobson, "What's at Stake for Farmers in Immigration Debate," audio, Marketplace Morning Report, 2013.02.07].
53% of farm workers are illegal immigrants. Apply that number to South Dakota, and you could estimate that half of the $8 billion or $21 billion or $98 moo-trillion or whatever fantabulous number Walt Bones blurts out next.
Do you still wonder why the Governor and South Dakota Legislature kill every bill Rep. Stace Nelson proposes to crack down on illegal immigration except for his toothless plank in the SDGOP platform? Let Stephen Keppel explain it further:
The agriculture industry has been a big proponent of immigration reform. They would by developing a legal path to citizenship and more importantly for them a guest worker program... would legalize a huge section of their workforce. It would help them plan for the future. It would help workers that work seasonally that come in from mexico and work throughout west coast come and go much more easily. It's just much more sustainable.
...If we went the route of mass deportations, first it would be very costly. There are some estimates that it would cost maybe $285 billion to deport all undocumented immigrants. It could cost the economy $2.6 trillion dollars over the next ten years from GDP. And it would absolutely crush the U.S. farming industry. Farms would shrink, we would definitely be producing a lot less farm goods [Keppel, 2013.02.07].
And on the ninth day, God made Mexicans. And the Americans all bought big trucks to drive to Wal-Mart to fill with bulging plastic sacks of food produced mostly by migrant workers who, like more than 99% of the Americans they feed, will never own a bright red barn or green field or scenic snow-dusted ranch with a view of the mountains.