But, Your Honor, I’m a Farmer

Many years ago, I worked at a riding stable near my home on the seacoast of New Hampshire. My primary job was to clean out stalls, go on errands, and help bring in the hay.

The stables also included several acres of prime pasture land. Prime pasture land in New Hampshire often equals a source of hay, and riding stables go through a lot of hay. You might also be surprised the neighbors who did not want hay, would give away their hay in exchange for having their fields cut. So, helping with hay was a big part of my job towards the end of the summer.

Working on any kind of farm is hard work; equipment is scarce; and it is hard to complete every administrative task, like getting the one and only tractor registered with a proper license plate. If you do not have a vehicle registration, you can be fined.

Well one day it happened. The New Hampshire state police gave my friend Roger a citation for driving the tractor on the road without a registration. He came home dejected, because he had to go to court and pay a fine.

But his son, Ross, said don’t worry, Dad. Absolutely nothing is going to happen; and that is because this is New Hampshire, and you are a farmer. The minute the judge hears you were out haying, the ruling will be case dismissed.

Other family members weighed in with their opinions, and, even though the tractor soon got a registration plate, the court date loomed.

Well, Roger had his day in court, and although we wanted to have faith in Ross’ prediction about the magic of his father being a farmer, we were all prepared that Roger might receive a fine.

On his day in court, the judge asked to hear the defendant’s story. Roger started his story with “Well, Your Honor, I was in a hurry trying to bring in hay before it rained, and…”

Roger got no further. The judge said in so many words, “You were out farming? Case dismissed.”

And we all learned a lesson that day. If you are farming in New Hampshire, it almost impossible to do wrong.

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