Farmers, the Original Homebodies

A while back, after taking a personality test, I wrote a post about farmer personality types. My personality type, an INFJ, isn’t a natural fit for farming, except for possibly the agricultural position of cult leader. Still, despite what the test results say, I doubt I could lead a cult, even just a little farm cult. I mean, yes, most INFJs are a few worms short of a full bait cup, but we don’t like spreading our worms with others. We like to keep them to ourselves. We’re private people. 

In that regard, INFJs–despite being generally unfit to wield a sharp hoe–may be drawn to the farming ideal, specifically the part about having a small corner of earth to call their hiding place. It wouldn’t surprise me if the first farmer was an INFJ. He was probably sick and tired of chasing woolly mammoths across the continent with his band of obnoxious hunter-gatherer buddies and just wanted some alone time. Thus, he decided to get out of the mammoth race, stay in one cave, and grow stuff. The first nomad became a farmer not because he was good at farming, but because he was tired of traveling and enjoyed being at a cave called “home.” Likely, because he was a terrible farmer, he starved to death and his skeleton still rests on the floor of that forgotten cave. Nevertheless, his idea about home caught on, and eventually people with more tactile abilities started growing stuff and built a civilization.

If you look closely you can see the INFJ in the back.

Fast forward thousands of years to 2020.  To cobble together enough acreage to make a living, grain farmers here are driving mammoth combines down narrow country roads, dodging mailboxes and logging trucks, to tracts all the way on the other side of the county. They don’t particularly enjoy traveling so far just to find land to work, but they do take a certain pride in extending their territorial planting range. Today’s farmer has evolved from chasing mammoths to driving them. By 2100, however, there will likely be no local farmers because our crop production will be outsourced to tech specialists in India, driving mega-combines and tractors remotely by joystick. 

All this sounds swell enough and is likely inevitable as farms grow bigger and bigger and farmers work land farther and farther away from home. But there is a certain irony in the decree to “get big or go home.” Going home used to be the whole point of farming, at least back when people chased mastodons. 

20 thoughts on “Farmers, the Original Homebodies

  1. How I hope you’re wrong and the future lies with all the misfit farmers and growers at home!

  2. Love this! I’m also an INFJ farmer. Also, on the topic of farmers with joysticks from far away? Have you seen the Farm Simulator video games? I’m buying one for my husband for Christmas so he can “farm” in the off season.

    1. It’s funny. INFJs are only supposed to be about 2% of the general population, but I’d say they make up about 75% of the farming blog-o-sphere. We may not be good at farming, but we’re good at blogging. No, I have not seen those games, but just looked them up. They look fun. I’d probably get addicted to it. I always liked the old Sim City games.

  3. Truly hoping the age of the opposite of “go big” is in its infancy. Can’t remember what my Myers-Briggs type was but it definitely also involved an “I.” After a while around others, I have to go home just to breathe freely for a while. Or I get very cranky!

  4. I hope we don’t continue in the direction of bigger. I wistfully find myself hoping that we’ll return to more of a small-scale, community-oriented farming where we trade with our neighbors and everyone appreciates where our food comes from.

    1. Me too. Sometimes I think it’s possible, and then sometimes I think we’re too far gone and can’t turn back. Sometimes I think all we can really do is try to build something from ground up in our own communities and hope it takes hold.

    1. I wonder if the Lion is weirded out because it looks the cow is running backwards. As far as I know, it is physiologically impossible for a cow to gallop backwards, so maybe they aren’t afraid of the eyes as much as amazed by the feat of bovine athleticism.

      I am curious as to how one runs across a story on cow butts with eyes painted on them.

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