By Greg Brenneman, Solomon, Kansas.


Every year I stand in the card aisle, flipping through and rejecting card after card, just trying to find the least objectionable one to send to my farmer dad for Father’s Day.

Oh sure, there’s cards for fishermen, golfers, hunters, handymen (and not-so-handy men), sports fans, techno nerds, businessmen and every other iteration of the dad stereotype but there’s never a card for the farmer or rancher dads out there.

Where are the cards featuring a dad in a welding helmet fixing a piece of equipment in the farm shop? How come there’s never a tractor-themed card showing a dad making another round while his kids are napping in the buddy-seat? Who do you have to bribe to get a $5 square of cardboard with a cowboy theme that doesn’t feature the phrases “buckaroo” and has actual photos of beef cattle instead of cartoon Holsteins?

Is it too much to ask that there are cards for the 2 percent who feed 100 percent of the population?

Farmer and rancher dads may have hobbies outside of their work, I suppose, but mine isn’t that way. He doesn’t fish. He doesn’t hunt. He casually observes that there’s a sporting event occurring now and then, and only if we bring it to his attention. He appreciates an antique tractor or car show, but he won’t go out of his way to attend one on a sunny weekend when there’s work to be done.

His DIY projects are out of necessity rather than artistic ingenuity and self-expression. And considering the man just got his own cell phone about five years ago, we can check “early technology adopter” off the list of qualifiers.

You know what he’s passionate about, though? His wife, his kids, and his grandkids. Our hobbies and passions became his. From 4-H fairs and FFA banquets, to music recitals and plays, to college activities and beyond, his hobby was, and still is, cheering us to our greatest potential.

For him, there was enough pride in the farm work that he really never had time for a hobby. A straight row with no skips in a sorghum field. The tight stack of hay bales tarped and ready to haul to the barn. The way wheat ripples in the breeze as it ripens under a Kansas sun. The smell of a farm shop in the early morning as the day starts to get underway. Or, the way a young calf plays in a pasture as butterflies flit among the cowpeas.

Those are the moments that define his happiness, and there’s just no Hallmark cards out there that cater to that type of dad.

So, to all the farmer dads out there, who, like my dad, get one more card with yet another cartoon Holstein cow on the front that says something along the lines of “You’re UDDER-ly awesome, Dad!”—just know we chose the least objectionable card of the bunch to represent you and to let you know that we love you.

Happy Father’s Day, fellas.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or

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