City Boy Blushes

My girlfriend ‘N’ is curreIMG_214412120070526ntly doing a management course in Cork. Yesterday they were separated into groups of three and given an in-class assignment about how agriculture in Ireland changed when we joined the European Union. To discuss was management practices, economies of scale, types of farming … etc etc. She was paired with two young city boys, who probably haven’t spent much time outside the city boundaries … except maybe when they’re driving to some other city! So the two lads were going on about how stupid farmers are etc etc and was eventually topped off by the classic comment: “I suppose they don’t even wash their faces before they go to mass on Sunday morning”. Enough was enough! N bucked up that her boyfriend is a dairy farmer. Oh the faces weren’t long turning red. I got a good chuckle from that when she told me last night!

But maybe it was a good lesson for those boys on people management, because how does one regain their dignity after making a gaffe like that? They should really know better if they consider themselves management material at all.

As for me, well, I’m well used to being called everything under the sun by those city boys on the soccer pitch, so it doesn’t knock much off of me.

Interestingly also, from talking to management in my previous life as a software engineer, I found that many of the management were from farming backgrounds, and they were happy to hire farm kids, because they have a much stronger work ethic and are much better educated than the kids coming from the towns and cities. David McWilliams has written about this effect in Ireland back in the 60’s and 70’s and how 30% more farm kids went to college compared to going city kids, and the effects it had on the tie of the people to the land:

The small farmers, or more accurately, their Irish Mammy, saw this dead-end coming. She realised that the game was up and that the only way out for the sons who didn’t get the farm was either emigration or the public service. The rallying cry of Irish mammies went up: “Sure, where you be without your education?”

So this continues to this day … but not with the emphasis that it had before … but the work ethic among farmer kids still remains high, and their ability to manage remains at a high standard also.


2 comments so far

  1. laurie on

    heh–good for her.

    i have always thought that farmers work much harder than most people, and need to have an understanding of a wider range of things–not just animal husbandry, or crops, but economics and meteorology and all kinds of things i’m not thinking of right now.

  2. rough hands on

    Yes, laurie you would be right with that. The core things to know about are the important ones, but the extra knowledge like how to do things yourself, and how to understand how external things that have an effect on your everyday life are important for strategy and control.
    Then there’s other things that I’m just interested in myself, because I have to clear my head of farming from time to time

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