For the love of farming …


The Irene Dairy Farm’s unique Barn, fountain and farmyard, by Monxdavies via Wikimedia Commons

Wendell Berry said, “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: ‘Love. They must do it for love.’ Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.”

That just about says it all. We all know about famous farmers like Wendell Berry, Jimmy Carter, and Barbara Kingsolver. But it might surprise you that some people who have become very successful in other areas just can’t resist the urge to farm. They don’t need the money; they don’t need the bounty; and they certainly don’t need the headaches. Why do they do it? They must do it for love!


Laurits Andersen Ring – National Gallery of Norway via Wikimedia Commons

Here are a few of the famous farmers among us that just might surprise you …

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, has been a passionate advocate of organic farming since the 1980s, and is now an outspoken opponent of GMOs. “It is now 14 years since I first suggested that organic farming might have some benefits and ought to be taken seriously. I shall never forget the vehemence of the reaction … much of it coming from the sort of people who regard agriculture as an industrial process, with production as the sole yardstick of success.”

Comedian Roseanne Barr lives on an organic macadamia nut farm in Hawaii. “I’m a farmer now, and it’s fantastic. My goal is to be totally self-sufficient and grow everything that I eat. There’s something about earning your dinner that’s cool. I got the fame and the fortune that I always wanted. But I have to say what I have now, it’s even better.”

Actor Russell Crowe owns a 1,400-acre ranch in Australia where he raises over 700 head of Black Angus cattle. “It’s a total oasis. You go to the farm, and if you let the rhythm of the farm be your rhythm and dominate, whatever’s going on in your mind, you can settle it down and sort it out,”

Actress Nicole Kidman and her husband, singer Keith Urban, have both a cattle ranch in Australia and a farm in Nashville, where they raise alpacas and vegetables.

Actress Reese Witherspoon has a farm in Ojai, California, where she raises goats, pigs, and miniature donkeys. “It’s so good for the kids to learn about animals and kindness and compassion. I make them clean the stalls.”


Peter Andreas Blix – Oslo Museum via Wikimedia Commons

Actor Tom Selleck grows 63 acres of avocados on his ranch in California; actor Jamie Foxx grows avocados right next door. Singer Jason Mraz also grows avocados near San Diego, where he harvests 30,000 pounds of the fruit a year!

Actress Elizabeth Hurley has a 400-acre organic farm in Gloucester, England, and recently launched a line of all-natural snack bars from food produced on her farm.

Actor Mark Ruffalo lives on a 50-acre former dairy farm in New York, where he grows strawberries and hay and plans to raise sheep.

Leave a comment 3 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wendall Berry has always spoken to my heart. He can explain the complexity of agriculture with a lens that only comes from a place of experience and share that vision with anyone who chooses to read his works. In one of the books I read recently, Thomas Jefferson writes that there that the pursuit of agriculture was the most important and honorable of vocations. It struck me odd that the Father of the University of Virginia would not say that education and learning were the most important pursuits. However, one only has to look at Monticello to see differently. Jefferson loved his home and spent his time using his land to experiment with trying to grow new vegetables, fruits and other crops. Monticello was both his home and his laboratory where he most wanted to spend his days. Americans have followed suit in this vast land of fertile farmland and I am happy to learn that new generations of people are making agriculture more sustainable and healthier. I feel sure Thomas Jefferson would be pleased!

  2. Nancy Coughlin says:

    Wendall Berry has always been a favorite of mine. Love is at the base of so much that we do. Or it should be! As Roseanne Barr said, she has the “fame and fortune” so she can now do what it is that fills her heart. I truly feel for those who have to struggle with each day to make their farm work, but continue to do so because they love their work.

  3. Victoria Durant says:

    I live in Nevada on a 5 acre ranch which I am still developing . I would not give this place up for anything
    my father help my family and I get this place before he passed away. I have found it to be a challenge
    and a comfort. You see my husband is now seriously ill and the work that needs to be done here still is
    my comfort I can go outside and work around the ranch. In the summer I try to grow a garden my father was the farmer but every once in awhile I get lucky and something will grow for me. I try new things to improve this place or sometimes I keep the old way going. In the end I will have my ranch up and running raising Alpacas my dream. Thak you all for inspiring me to continue on.
    Victoria Durant

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *