American Agriculturist Logo

Barn Bette's 7-point romance picking pointers

With the sweet wedding season coming on strong, Barn Bette offers 7 romance-picking pointers for avoiding a souring marriage.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

June 5, 2016

2 Min Read

My Johnny Birdsong alter ego has this June wedding month tale to tell. His daughter, Jonie, came in all aflutter after neighborly advice from Barn Bette. Seems as Bette told her to go slow on getting caged by a “keeper”. Yes, that has a double meaning.

If you’re not familiar with her, Barn Bette is a no-nonsense farm gal who invaded the fictional Good Ol’ Boys’ Club at Coffee Clutcher Cafe. She’s been around the marriage roundabout more than once and has a strong sense of what works and what stinks. We’re not talking dirty socks here.


So she offers these pointers for young (18 to 40 years of age . . . okay, 45) farm women. Now on the high side of 45, Bette advises putting every prospective marital candidate through a scrutinizing squeeze chute “long before you let ‘em through the friendly farm gate,” she warns. “You want only the best; you can’t afford the misery of the rest.”

She’s been around that barn more than once – making her an expert. So here goes . . .

1. Do you feel you have to have your “best face” on before you meet? That’s not a good sign. Lasting love is no a skin-deep deal. It has to stand up to wear and tear.

2. Is that person good with kids and animals? If not, don’t expect him to be good with you once the freshness of a relationship wears off.

3. Today, unfortunately, you have to check his police record. Prospective husbands must know the difference between hay bale and jail bail, and not ever have paid the latter. More than one well-to-do farm woman has lost more than her shirt to a sweet-talking scumbag.

4. Is there ample evidence of assets? No, nice pickups, boats, even tractors don’t count – although the right-colored tractor might an indicator of taste. But I’m talking about income-earning, not income-burning assets.

5. Long before considering any once-in-a-lifetime deals, run a credit check and make certain his “stuff” is paid for.

6. Then go the next level and make sure the candidate knows how to fix the “stuff” he already has – and maybe yours as a test. Nothing’s more costly and useless around a farm than a person without a full toolbox, baling wire and duct tape. In fact, practical common sense can be indexed by what’s in that toolbox.

7. One more thing: Any candidate for being dearly beloved must know what “sweat work” is – on the farm, not in a gym.

You’re right. This stuff has nothing to do with romance and wonderful wedded bliss. That’s Barn Bette’s whole point of these pointers, “cuz romance wears down and out when you’re doing all the work to make it work.”

One more thing: Please share this with all who can read, and read it to those who won’t.

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like