Home and Shop Companion 0057
Home and Shop Companion 0057

Farmers, the Original Homebodies

by Stephen Bishop of Shelby, NC

A while back, I took a personality test – ten years too late really. Unsurprisingly, my personality type, an INFJ (Intuitive, iNtroverted, Feeling, Judging), isn’t a natural fit for farming. At the top of the list of careers to avoid for an INFJ was, yep, farmer. That confirms my suspicion, and probably explains my misadventures in farm life.

And yet, despite being generally unfit to wield a sharp hoe, INFJs may be drawn to the farming ideal, specifically the part about having a small corner of earth to call our hiding place. We INFJs like to keep to ourselves; we’re private people. 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.

Fast forward thousands of years to 2021. 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 overseas, 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.


Stephen Bishop is an SFJ contributor and writes about agrarian antics from Shelby, NC. You can find more of his farming misadventures at www.misfitfarmer.com or follow him on Twitter @themisfitfarmer.


Home and Shop Companion 0057

Home and Shop Companion 0057