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The Manure Spreader: Family values

Tim Moffett for Progressive Dairyman Published on 18 July 2017

I met my new neighbor this last week. He just bought the old place down the road and moved here from a big city. He said, “I wanted to move to rural America because you just can’t put a price on family values.”

First of all, I don’t like that word “rural.” Who came up with that word to describe us? That word is hard to say; why can’t they just say we live in the country? The word rural reminds me of when my aunt didn’t have her teeth in and she would yell for my uncle Earl. Rural! Rural!



Second, I disagree. There is a price for family values. It’s called a mortgage. Roughly $3,000 to $12,000 an acre, depending on where in rural America you call home. The man who sold you that farm put a value on his living. Well, actually the bank told him what he needed to get out of debt, but you paid the value.

This guy went on to say, “You just can’t put a price on the open spaces, sounds of nature and seeing the stars at night.” There, again, it’s called a mortgage. Don’t pay it, and you’ll get to enjoy all that on a daily, nightly, all-seasons basis with a front row seat from the cardboard box you’re living in.

So do we pay a price for family values? Yes. It’s called prayer, hard work, sacrifice and sometimes just pure luck.

Now, something you can’t put a price on is: Keeping the Mrs. happy. That’s priceless! Do whatever, spend whatever, break the law if you have to. If she ain’t happy, you could be living in that same cardboard box while still paying the mortgage.

Something else this guy mentioned about rural America was the fact you can count on your neighbors. That part is true. He hasn’t lived there long enough to know he can count on the neighbor on the other side of him to complain about everything. He can count on the neighbor across the road from him to borrow stuff and bring it back broken if at all.


My new friend does have a good point. Even with the stated facts, these neighbors would be the first in line to help in a moment’s notice in a time of need.

So with that in mind, my new neighbor said if I ever needed help with anything to let him know. I told him that any day around 2 p.m., if he doesn’t mind milking cows, building fence, cutting grass, digging ditches, etc., to come by.

Because that’s about the time when I like to put my feet up and take a break. I’m just trying to be a helpful rural neighbor. end mark

Tim is a Florida dairy farmer and comedian. Visit him at Tim the Dairy Farmer.