Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2014
With the windows raised, I could hear every raindrop pelt the earth, every whisper from the wind, and every bird sing a love song. As I looked out the window, I could almost see the wind swirling around my house, charting its way through an obstacle course. Then, as if God just hit a strike at the bowling alley, a crack of thunder and lightning shook the walls.
I sat back on the couch, closed my eyes, and listened as the sounds of nature became my playlist. I took five deep breaths, convincing myself to slow down, step away from life, and remember what’s real.
As my mind slipped back through time, it stopped at the beginning of this journey. A journey that has led me down many paths, personally and professionally; changed the way I look at life; and challenged me to be a better person.
This journey is the Why I Farm movement. And I couldn’t be more excited to continue traveling along this road, especially with you by my side.
Whether you’re an avid follower or reading for the first time, the Why I Farm movement launched into stardom nearly a year ago. The message behind the movement is simple – honor the American Farmer. And no matter if you are a livestock producer, crop farmer, gardener, hobby farmer or a consumer shopping at the local grocery store, there is a piece of the American Farmer in us all.
Last year we followed 12 Midwest farmers. I traveled more than 2,000 miles, interviewing each farm family. We captured them on video. And then released their Why I Farm story in an emotionally compelling video. Now, with more than 170,000 total video views and over 19,000 people joining the conversation, the Why I Farm movement is gaining momentum. And fast.
So what’s my role in the movement? Well, the best way to put it. I’m your tour guide. My name is Ashley Fischer and as I mentioned in my very first blog post on July 31, 2013, I work for the largest family-owned, retail seed company in the United States – Beck’s. And I love my job. Don’t believe me? You can read about it here, here and here.
Raised in central Indiana, I grew up a farm girl. Dirt in my nails (and probably my hair too), calluses on my hands, and mud on my boots. I’m passionate about my family farm, agriculture, and telling the story of the American Farmer.
That's me in both pictures - one with my farmer father and one with my younger brother.
In this blog series, I’ll introduce you to the farm families behind the Why I Farm movement. Each with a unique story to tell, embraced with messages of hope, opportunity, faith, sacrifice, and triumph.
They are the epitome of the American Farmer. Lives filled with honor, courage and duty; both in and out of the field. Lives empowered by dreams, inspired by God’s wisdom. And lives not only devoted to their community, but the world.
Just like last year, I was asked to capture each farm family’s story. But this year, there was a twist. We recorded the interviews – on camera. So instead of me heading out on a road trip alone, there were two, and sometimes three of us from the Beck’s marketing department. We’d load the truck with cameras, tripods, sound equipment, and lights.
Each farm family not only opened their homes, but also their hearts. Our first stop was in Helena, OH to visit a farmer who tends to wear more than one hat.
A Community Man – Kevin Ruth, Helena, OH
On a chilly Thursday in early March, Joel and I loaded up the truck and headed east to Ohio. This time, we weren’t just interviewing a farmer, but a man who puts his life before others. A man who runs into burning homes, is first on the scene at an accident, and helps save lives.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
When we arrived, Kevin Ruth greeted us at the home farm, and immediately took us for a tour of Helena. A small farming community, the town is quaint. We toured the fire department, where we learned there is a long line of firemen in the Ruth family. Kevin’s great grandfather helped build the fire department in 1946, and since then, Kevin has followed in his great grandfather, grandfather and father’s footsteps.
We stopped by Kevin’s church – small, but magnificently beautiful. We stood in awe at its natural beauty. Several years ago, they almost lost the church to a fire, but fortunately they were able to save it with little damage.
After a quick tour, we headed to Kevin’s home for the “formal” interview, where his wife, Angie, joined us. As Joel set up the equipment, I prepped them for the interview. Because answering personal questions in front of two cameras and two people you just met can be a bit intimidating.
It didn’t take long for the interview to turn into a conversation. When Kevin couldn’t think of a word, Angie picked up where he left off. They are a team – on and off camera. We talked history, family, faith, farming, and what it means to be a fireman.
The Ruth Family. From left to right: Abby, Kevin, Angie and Billy
Kevin’s farming story isn’t like most. When he was just nine years old, his dad sold the farm. But his love for the industry he was born into never wavered. If a neighbor needed help farming, Kevin was there. Years later, that persistence and determination paid off. Now, he’s focused on growing the farm he’s built with the support of his wife and dad, for the next generation.
While most of the conversation revolved around farming, there was one piece I was most intrigued by – being a volunteer fireman. Remember when I said we interviewed the families on camera? Well, I hope you’ll watch the short behind the scenes interview clip below. Kevin and Angie discuss the Ruth family of firemen and the history of the Helena Fire Department.
When I asked Kevin why he feels it’s important to be a volunteer fireman, he didn’t hesitate. It’s a responsibility. For Kevin, it’s a word that not only describes a firefighter, but a farmer. As Kevin continued to talk about the history of the fire department, one word kept popping in my head.
Farmers might not be the hero in the comic books, but they feed the world. And to me, that’s a hero.
So without any further ado, here is the official Why I Farm video of one of our many heroes - Kevin Ruth. And then, if you want to hear more from the Ruth’s, visit www.whyifarm.com for additional behind the scene interviews.
Each month we will be releasing a new Why I Farm video with a different look into the world of farming. But until then, join me every Wednesday as I take you behind the movement.
Author: Ashley Fischer
Categories: Why I Farm
Tags: farming, Why I Farm, #whyifarm, Beck's Hybrids, farmers, Why I Farm movement, Honoring Farmers, Beck's, American Farmers, Kevin Ruth
Marketing Communications Manager at Beck's.