Viral farmer remembered

Viral farmer remembered
Jun 02, 2023

Dave Brandt is the face of a popular online meme

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

You may have seen and shared a photo of a farmer without even realizing it.

Dave Brandt, a Fairfield County, Ohio producer, Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, was the face of a viral meme highlighting honest work - real or imagined.

The image shows Brandt standing in front of a field, wearing a plaid shirt, overalls and a hat. The caption “it ain’t much but it’s honest work,” surrounds him.

The ag and online communities are remembering Brandt after his passing in late May.

Brandt was involved in a car accident in Urbana, Ill., while driving back to his farm after picking up red corn.

He passed away on May 21 at the age of 76.

In the ag community, Brandt is remembered for his implementation of no-till practices.

He started no-till farming in 1971 as a cost cutting measure on his farm. And in 1978 started to use cover crops. He spent his years in ag encouraging others to do the same.

“He was determined to educate farmers about the value of conservation agriculture, and how it would improve soil health,” Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University associate professor, told The Columbus Dispatch.

In 2012 the USDA began a soil education program on his farm. That’s where the viral image came from.

And from 2017 to 2021 he served as president of the Soil Health Academy, a non-profit organization he helped found focused on regenerative agriculture.

Brandt identified that farmers could benefit from no-till practices if they made the attempt.

“The biggest challenge is changing the mindset of producers so they understand the soil they are working with,” Brandt wrote in a 2019 blog post. “This challenge is still there, but I continue with field days, research and speaking on the topic of soil health.”

In 2022, No-till on the Plains, an ag education organization in Kansas, created the No-till David Brandt Soil Legacy Award for farmers committed to improving soil health.

Brandt was the first recipient.

In online communities, where many only new Brandt’s face, users have also paid tribute to him.

A post on Reddit, where Brandt’s meme originally gained traction, has more than 54,000 upvotes.

“Our friend here was amazing,” one user wrote. “Truly a super hero without the cape.”

“I buy soybeans from this man and I can attest to his kindness and authenticity,” another user said. “He will be missed.”

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