You Are What You Believe

Samuel R. Guard - Louisville, Kentucky
Broadcast during the 1950s
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Achievement, like happiness, comes from within. You are what you believe. If you’re a farmer, you can become a champion farmer if deep inside you will it so. My office is at the stock yards in Louisville, Kentucky. Farmers make my office a sort of headquarters—farmers from the rich river bottoms, from the hillside grasslands, future farmers, and gray-thatched farmers full of years. Oh, all kinds of farmers.

But this one was somebody. He loved to have his suitcase. It was full of corn, yellow-ear corn. He was a rugged but pleasant, broad-mouthed, and wrinkled man, wearing a store tie that persisted in coming unhooked. In one hand a suitcase and in the other hand a boy, a pleasant- looking country lad on the delicate side, his wide eyes full of wonderment with eagles and stars and things all over his coat lapels—emblems from Sunday school, the 4-H Club, the Junior Farm Girl.

“Mr. Sam,” began the farmer, “I brought you some ears. I read what you said about wanting us American farmers to grow four billion bushels of corn a year instead of three billion bushels, so as to feed everybody at home and abroad, so as to get some beefsteak to put on the peace table, so as to stop inflation. This is my son, Cledith Raugh, Mr. Guard. I’m his 4-H leader at Burgin, Kentucky, way up in the mountains. I’m the school teacher up yonder, too. Cledith raised this corn on a measured acre and we thought you’d like to have some to decorate your office.” With that, he opened the cheap suitcase and displayed the gleaming yellow corn. Was I tickled.

“How many bushels did, ah, Cledith raise on that measured acre?” I asked too casually. “I had 24,696 stocks on that acre, Mr. Guard. It weighed out 233 and two-tenths bushels,” cried Cledith Raugh. I almost fell out of my chair. “Why that’s more corn than any farmer, man or boy, in this whole United States grew on any solid acre of ground last year.” “That must have been a mighty rich acre of ground,” was all I could think of saying.

“Not especially,” Mr. Jim Henry Raugh gave me to understand. He told me how he literally made that ground himself. “You see, when Pappy died he left me twenty-five acres, worth $10 an acre. I saved a little out of my teaching salary of $201 a month and bought seventy-five acres more, including this acre of Cledith’s corn by the creek side. That was sixteen years ago.”

Then he went on to explain how he took care of that land, year after year, enriching the soil and enlarging the yield—fifteen years from mountain land, poor as Job’s turkey—to the highest solid acre of harvested corn on the globe. He became a champion farmer—the champion corn farmer of the U.S.A. He kept the faith. So I believe that achievement is within each of us. As the master said to the Pharisee, “The kingdom of God is within you.” You are what you believe.

Samuel R. Guard worked in enterprises related to agriculture all of his life, and he was the owner and editor of Breeder’s Gazette, a livestock farming magazine. Mr. Guard lived on a thirteen-acre farm at Anchorage, Kentucky, a farm he called Little Meadows since it resembled Daniel Boone’s Great Meadows. Guard died in 1966.