Farming is not a “job” — it’s a way of life. Being a farmer is an essential part of a person’s identity. It’s not a Monday to Friday job, and the hours definitely aren’t nine to five. If you are planning a funeral for a farmer, you already understand these truths.
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If you are arranging a farmer’s memorial service, you may want a fitting poem to read at the funeral or to display with photographs of your loved one. Here are some funeral poems for farmers (and cowboy funeral poems) to consider.
Virtual funeral tip: If you're planning a virtual funeral with a service like GatheringUs, choose a poem that you'll feel comfortable reading on a video call. You could also display a poem on your loved one's online memorial page.
Sad Funeral Poems for Farmers
You may have heard funeral poems at other end-of-life services through the years, but you are looking for a poem that fits a particular niche. Farmer poems are a bit harder to find. Here are some to consider.
Tip: Choosing funeral poems and readings might be just a small part of your post-death responsibilities. If you need helping sorting it all out, check out our post-loss checklist.
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1. “A Time to Stay, A Time to Go” by Baxter Black
This poem by cowboy poet Baxter Black is technically about a couple who decide to retire, sell the ranch, and move to town. You could read this poem metaphorically as well. A farmer leaving the land he worked for all his life may feel like a death.
2. “I Farmed the Land” by Earl Smithson
This poem is written from the perspective of a deceased farmer. He looks back on his life with contentment. The last line reads, “I’m now at peace, life’s battle done. I’ve faced the foe and I have won.”
3. “Close the Gate” by Nancy Kraayenhof
Farm kids understand the significance of the statement, “close the gate.” After all, if the gate is left open, the cows will get out. This poem celebrates this often-heard instruction, and at the same time, commemorating the life of a farmer or rancher. The poem concludes, “Your labor is done, your home now is heaven; no more must you wait. Your legacy lives on, your love of the land, and we will close the gate.”
4. “A Farmer’s Prayer” by Unknown
This poem celebrates farming but gives all the honor and glory to God. This would be an appropriate choice to print in the funeral program of a Christian farmer. It concludes, “and thank you, Lord, for the precious gift — the blessings of this farm.”
5. “God’s Garden” by Unknown
A garden is not the same as a farm, but the imagery in this poem may resonate with those living in rural areas. In the text of this poem, God realizes he has a spot in his garden.
He looks down on earth and sees a tired person, and he brings him up to enjoy his garden in heaven. The poem concludes, “It broke our hearts to lose you, but you didn’t go alone. For part of us went with you the day God called you home.”
Uplifting Funeral Poems for Farmers
Many times, the poetry used at a farmer’s funeral celebrates and honors a rural lifestyle. You may consider these poems for your farmer’s funeral. You may also consider playing some country funeral songs at the visitation or repast.
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6. “Farm Folks” by Unknown
This poem begins, “When God created farm folks, he was surely at his best. He made them something special to help clothe and feed the rest.” This poem also mentions the contributions of the farm wife as being an essential part of the team.
7. “Thank a Farmer” by John Wesley
“Thank a Farmer” is a song performed by John Wesley. Even though the entire text may not be appropriate for a funeral, an edited version of it would work. While you may want to leave out the references to “tank top wearin’ country girls,” you should include the stanza, which begins, “I still believe in amber waves of grain. Man on his knees praying for rain that grew this country strong.”
8. “The Farmer’s Creed” by Unknown
This creed is a series of “I believe” statements on what it means to be a farmer. It begins, “I believe that a man’s greatest pride is his dignity and that no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming.”
9. “The Harvest” by Sherrie Bradley Neal
“The Harvest” uses sowing and reaping imagery to describe a person’s life. The poem concludes, “When at last the harvest comes, as the fields receive the dew. A life well lived leaves legacy. The Master plan in view.” You can purchase a bookmark with this poem by Sherrie Bradley Neal printed on it for your loved one’s funeral.
10. “The Old Farmer’s Prayer” by Unknown
Since this poem’s message is that the farmer wishes to return to the earth, you may consider using “The Old Farmer’s Prayer” if you scatter the cremains on the farm. The poem includes the line, “Please compost and spread me on this plain so my body Mother Earth can claim. That is where I wish to be, then Nature can nourish new life with me.”
Old Funeral Poems for Farmers
Farming is the oldest profession, so there is plenty of material from throughout the centuries celebrating farmers and the rural lifestyle. Here are some that may be appropriate for your loved one’s funeral.
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11. “So God Made a Farmer” by Paul Harvey
We know that this piece is technically more an essay than a poem. Regardless, radio personality Paul Harvey’s speech about farming is wrought with emotion and would make a lovely reading at a funeral. The speech was written in the 1970s, but it gained attention when it was used by Dodge in a Super Bowl ad several years ago.
12. “I’m Just a Farmer” by Unknown
This poem is commonly printed in funeral programs of farmers. The poem begins, “I’m just a farmer, plain and simple, Not of a royal birth, but rather a worker of the earth.”
13. “The Silent Partner” by Baxter Black
Baxter Black is known as a cowboy poet, and his work often resonates with farm families. This poem is an homage to a farm wife. The poem concludes, “Remember your partner, she’s tried and she’s true. You’re lucky, my man, to have such a friend. Take care of ‘er, ’cause she takes care of you.”
14. “To Everything There is a Season” from the Bible
This often-quoted scripture, found in the book of Ecclesiastes, is especially appropriate to use for a farmer’s funeral program or service. The reading begins, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” Read several different versions of this text before choosing which one to use for the funeral.
15. “God Speed the Plough” by Bennett Konesni
It isn’t clear when this English poem originated, but it was a popular verse across the countryside. It begins, “Let the Wealthy and Great roll in Splendour and State. I envy them not I declare it. I eat my own lamb, my chickens, and ham.”
16. “The Pasture” by Robert Frost
American poet Robert Frost often used this poem to invite readers into his poetry collections. The poem is about a farmer (or rancher) who is going out to the pasture, and he asks his wife to accompany him on the short journey. The refrain, “I shan’t be gone long.—You come too” is used throughout the piece.
Thoughts on Planning a Funeral Service
Planning a memorial service or funeral service is challenging. While you mourn the loss of a loved one, you are forced to decide cremation or burial, choose who will serve as a pallbearer, and select a menu for the reception following the funeral. You’ll need to think about many details as you suffer from your loved one’s death.
Make it easier on your family by planning your own end-of-life services. Funeral homes allow you to prepay for your services. Choose a cemetery plot or buy your cremation urn. Selecting and paying for these items while you are still living would give your family a chance to grieve instead of having to make plans.