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CCFB News» June 2021

Downwind"Wisdom and Advice"

06/01/2021 @ 10:25 am | By Bob Rohrer CAE, FBCM, Manager


I was in a Zoom webinar the other day when the speaker said, “The phones will be ringing off the hook.” Then she said, “That’s a saying that we are going to have to update!”


Outdated sayings and idioms. Created with meaning in context at an earlier time. We still understand the message today, although, we may have forgotten the context. It started me thinking of outdated sayings used today…

  • Repeats like a broken record
  • Rewind it
  • Roll up the window
  • Burning the midnight oil
  • Mimeograph it
  • At the drop of a hat
  • Burning the candle at both ends
  • Stay tuned
  • Kick the bucket
  • Spill the beans


Have you ever thought about how many sayings and idioms have their origin on the farm? There is so much wisdom and great advice wrapped around a farm saying. Here are a few examples; I’m sure you can come up with plenty more…


Land, Crops, and Machinery

  • A hard row to plow
  • Sowing is not as difficult as reaping
  • You reap what you sow
  • Make sure your fences are horse high, pig tight, and bull strong
  • Knee-high by 4th of July
  • Sort the wheat from the chaff
  • Make hay while the sun shines
  • It never rains in a dry time
  • Like finding a needle in a haystack
  • Sow your wild oats
  • Running out of steam
  • Buy the farm
  • Dumb as a post (I heard that one frequently as a kid!)



  • Straight from the horse’s mouth
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
  • Get off your high horse (a favorite of my Mom)
  • Two shakes of a lamb’s tail
  • When the cows come home
  • Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
  • Dirty as a pigsty (a reference to my bedroom growing up)
  • Get all your ducks in a row
  • Hen pecked or pecking order
  • Happy as a pig in mud
  • Running around like a chicken with its head cut off
  • Hold your horses (Dad’s favorite)
  • When pigs fly
  • Take the bull by its horns
  • Put out to pasture


How about some more recent sayings farm sayings…

  • My tractor cost more than your Beemer
  • To make agriculture sustainable, the grower has to make a profit
  • You can make a small fortune farming provided you start with a large one
  • The three seasons of a farmer are before harvest, harvest, and after harvest
  • A farmer has to be an optimist, or he/she wouldn’t still be a farmer
  • Old farmers never die, they just go to seed
  • Used cows for sale


There is a monument marker in front of the Illinois Farm Bureau building in Bloomington, Illinois. It is a picture of a farmer behind a one bottom plow with a plaque that reads…




“To plow a straight furrow, one must look ahead”


Great wisdom and advice from the farm will never need an update.


Bob can be reached at [email protected].  

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