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Do you know the 10 types of farm country people?

Courtesy of Shelby Watson-Hampton farmer Jeni Malott from Boonsboro, Md., with her daughter Vivian and some cows in the pasture
DAIRY FARM MOM: Dairy farmer Jeni Malott from Boonsboro, Md., is passing her love of dairy farming to her daughter, Vivian. Maybe Jeni would be considered a “generational farmer,” or maybe “a hybrid” farmer. The bottom line, farming has many faces that we should all celebrate and have fun with.
We all love agriculture, but sometimes we need to look at ourselves and laugh a little.

You see them all the time and likely don’t even think about it. But do you know the 10 types of people you’ll likely meet in and around farm country?

Now, please don’t take this seriously. This is all in good fun. But as proud members of this great industry, it’s always nice to have a laugh, or some amusement of the things we see every day.

So, here is my tongue-in-cheek outline of the 10 types of people I know you’ll meet in farm country: 

1. Generational farmers. They drive Ford or Chevy exclusively, they mostly farm red or green, and their family tree branches out so wide that they have more cousins than they can count, which means they often must leave the county to date.

They have legacies in Farm Bureau, FFA and 4-H; they’ve attended the same church for generations; and they can tell stories about almost everyone in town. 

2. New farmers. Bright, shiny and full of hope! They attend farmers markets, swap meets and farm workshops, and you can spot one by their open and friendly manner — and their desire to learn. You can also spot them by the folders and binders full of notes that they carry. They’re looking for grants and financing to help them get started, and they are soon on a first-name basis with most staff at the Extension office. 

3. Horse girls. There are literally about 50 sub-categories within this, and each one has its own quirks, but for general simplification, we are going to categorize them by the top 3 main categories: English girls, Western girls and farm girls who just happen to own a horse. 

English girls. They are so named because they ride in some form of the English saddle. Think disciplines like dressage, hunter jumper, eventing, thoroughbred racing, etc. Mostly raised on a diet of the black stallion, the saddle club and horse camp, their main characteristics include a paid trainer, general and unapologetic passion and snobbery about their chosen discipline, evaluating boyfriends by their potential to be useful at horse shows, and matching everything — saddles, breeches, boots, saddle pads, blankets and leg wraps. 

Western girls. They are so named because they ride in some form of a Western saddle. Think barrel racing, reining, Western pleasure and trail rides. Brought up on John Wayne, Lane Frost, Dolly Parton and Misty of Chincoteague, these girls know every country song from the past four decades; watch the National Finals Rodeo like it’s the Super Bowl; and live in worn-out boots, jeans and hoodies, except when they’re in the show ring, and then it’s all about the bling.

They are most likely to be seen around town with hay and horse hair on their clothes, and they choose their boyfriends based on the size of their trucks, their ability to sling hay and the fit of their Levi’s jeans. Also, some of their Western saddles cost more than a used car. 

Farm girls who happen to own horses. This girl grew up on a farm, but not one based in the horse industry. Her parents didn’t buy her a pony, and she wasn’t in horse camp in elementary school, nor was she riding in front of the Western saddle as a girl with her daddy. Nonetheless, she caught the horse bug.

This girl made friends with everyone in town who had a horse and attached herself to the scene like a burr that couldn’t be shook. Her parents indulged her somewhat, once it appeared that this was not a passing phase, and let her save money to buy her very first horse and keep it at the farm.

She’s dabbled a bit in several disciplines, but doesn’t belong to any particular scene. Mostly, she truly enjoys trail riding with friends and showing at relaxed B-rated horse shows. She’s known to be a farm girl first, a horse girl second and much more chill than her “crazy horse girl” friends.  

4. The good ol’ boy. Sometimes this person is a generational farmer, sometimes not.

This person drives a big truck with either a good amount of dents and rust, or a loud exhaust. Often seen wearing camo, he has a license and a particular weapon for every hunting season on the calendar, a fishing boat and at least one form of ATV.

Sometimes he smokes, dips or chews, and when not in the woods or on the water, he can often be seen at the local dive bar driving with the windows down and his music up, or in his buddy’s backyard with a case of cheap light beer. 

5. The hippie. The most laid-back person in town, they’ve just got that vibe.

Most likely they have the biggest and wildest garden, at least several strays they feed on a regular basis, and a generalized low-key spiritual outlook on life.

Fairly well-educated and well-read, they drive an old Subaru with a “Coexist” bumper sticker on the back and a third-row fold-down back seat that houses the cargo they randomly pick up from the side of the road or yard sales that they can repurpose and reuse.

Most often seen at the farmers market buying organic eggs and produce, they usually wear flannel and are in need of a haircut. 

6. The recluse. The one everybody knows about but almost never sees.

They come with a tragic backstory that is either true or somewhat exaggerated. They’ve got property and they rarely ever leave it, and no one visits.

This person was ordering everything by delivery before Amazon even existed, and proof of life was determined by neighbors by the presence of the Swann Frozen Foods Truck that rumbled down the drive every so often.

Accidental sightings of this person at the feed store, the local grocery or on the road are mentioned by others. 

7. The semi-debutante. She comes from a long-established family in the area that might be generational farmers. But before she was old enough to effectively protest her mother’s efforts, she found herself in cotillion classes practicing the foxtrot and how to correctly lay a formal table.

No matter how hard she might break out of that mold (joining the rodeo, driving the biggest truck in town), some of this will stick no matter what.

She’ll be the chameleon in the group, able to party with the boys in the back field but also able to organize, dress up and host the fanciest fundraiser in town. 

8. The organizer. This person is the volunteer who belongs to almost every local organization and knows someone in any group she doesn’t belong to.

She’s your go-to contact when organizing any community event, and her phone tree list can’t be beat.  

9. The church ladies. The makers of the best fried chicken and pies in town, hands down. They are dedicated to their church home, and are the default grannies and aunties to everyone in their flock. You can’t really become a full church lady until you’re at least a certain age, as they are the seasoned veterans in the group.

These ladies will welcome newcomers with open arms, but will keep a close eye on you until they know you’re legit. They’ll deny any such gossiping, but they’ve got the best dirt on everyone in town. 

10. The hybrid. Of course, none of these are mutually exclusive. It’s possible to fall into more than one category for sure.

As for me, I’m a generational farmer, a farm girl with a horse, a semi-debutante and an organizer. How about you?

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