Farming is about more than planting crops and shelling corn, even at this busy time of year. Farmers knew all about the value of 'social networks' before the cell phone and computer were even invented. They just did the networking one-on-one, face-to-face, not over a text screen, either on their phone or computer.
Here's a story of two farmers, Kerry Graves, Greene County, and Don Osborne, southern Knox County. Graves farms near Linton and Osborne farms near Decker in southeastern Knox County.
Living that far apart, how did these two guys, who have been friends now for several decades, meet each other? Well, they though they met for the first time at Vincennes University, then a community college. Both attended Vincennes after graduating from high school.
"It was a strange thing, because once we got acquainted and then became good friends at VU, we both had this strange feeling we had met each other before," Graves says. "Something about each one of looked familiar to the other, but we couldn't place it."
The two even tried to track down common activities or acquaintances that might have brought them into contact with each other. But each time, they struck out. They ran in different circles in high school and in most activities. If you're not familiar with southern Indiana, it's a long way from Linton to Decker.
Then one weekend while at Vincennes Graves went home to Osbrone's farm rather than driving back home. Osborne's mother had the same feeling when she saw Graves, but couldn't place him either. Later that evening, however, she pulled out a scrapbook with pictures and clippings form her son's days in 4-H growing up. It didn't take too long to solve the mystery.
"There was a picture of both of us standing near each other at the tractor driving contest for 4-H at the Indiana State Fair," Osborne recalls. "Then it came back to all of us- we both had competed in tractor driving at the state fair at the same time. That's where we had met."
Still friends today, they both love to share the story. And Osborne still works with Wally Linneweber and other area farmers to advise the 4-H tractor club project in the southern half of their county.
It's indeed a small world. Sometimes it just takes a while to figure that out!