Heady Billboards

Free caps for farmers mean free advertising for favored products.

| March/April 2008

Illustrations by Brian Orr

When’s the last time you saw a farmer who wasn’t wearing a baseball-style cap of some sort? I mean other than in church or at his own funeral?


That’s right, the correct answer is “Practically never.” By my calculations, every one of the 2.13 million farmers in the country has between six and 60 of those free “gimme” caps at home. Let’s see, that adds up to … oh, about 12 bazillion lids piled up in rural America’s back closets and mudroom shelves.


Every truck and tractor manufacturer, every seed and feed brand, every small-town grain elevator and farmer’s cooperative hands out free caps to farmers the way mothers hand out cookies after school. I figure that farmers, truckers and the guys who mow the lawn at the town park have probably been wearing gimme caps for a couple thousand years now. In fact, legend has it that the first gimme caps were given away by a Roman chariot manufacturer. “Hey, Gaius, cool cap. How many miles to the bale you get with that beauty?”


It’s true that gimme caps provide eye-catching, cost-effective advertising for the companies that distribute them and much-needed protection from the sun for the wearers. But a farmer’s favorite cap can also tell you something about his personality. You probably know someone who fits each of these types.


Status symbol caps. The John Deere and Case-IH brands are to farmers what the Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes-Benz names are to urban cowboys and automobile aficionados. A farmer wearing a green John Deere cap is saying, “Yep, I paid $125,000 for my tractor, and they tossed in the cap for free. Bet you wish you had one.”


Seed company caps. A farmer won’t wear just any old seed company cap. If he’s wearing a gimme cap bearing the name of “Brand X Corn Hybrids,” you can bet the farm that’s what’s growing on his place. He plants that particular hybrid for one of three reasons: because he honestly believes he gets a better stand and a bigger yield with that company’s genetics; it’s cheaper than Brand A; or it was his wife’s idea because his brother-in-law is a dealer.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!


Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265