Jerry Bates is a cattle farmer in Cloverdale, which is just south of Greencastle, and he also works at DePauw University. He was born in Putnam County, moved away as a child, and then moved back when he was older. Some of what Jerry shared with us includes his philosophy on being a shepherd of the earth, the importance of learning from family, and his connection to the land and animals via a “less is more” outlook.
Key Topics: brings DePauw students to his farm
Key Topics: personal biographical information, family reflection, taking over the farm from his uncle, family helping on the farm, mentor, steward of the earth
Key Topics: slowly passing the farm down, his sons work on the farm, relationships between family members, thoughts on mentors, importance of work with the land
Key Topics: cattle on the farm, history and business of the farm, shepherd vs. agriculturalist/industrialist
Key Topics: keeping the animals calm, grass fed cattle
Key Topics: how he learned about farming, changes on the farm, less is more
Key Topics: works at DePauw, welcomes DePauw students on his farm, his farm doesn’t feel like work
Key Topics: roominess on the farm, connection to nature, learning about life from the farm, splitting time, community, family
Key Topics: community, relationship to music, DePauw students teach music, community benefits of having DePauw in town
Music Preferences: all types, children play piano, would like to play music
Key Topics: relaxing tasks, wild animals, seeing effects of changes
Music Preferences not included on video: I like Ennio Morricone’s music as it really stays with me with its haunting sounds. I like the vocal interludes and romantic desperate feel to The Good Bad and The Ugly. I also love the zippy sounds of accordion music, my favorite player being Alicia Baker, who I stumbled onto on the internet. Her Flight of the bumble bee is unbelievable.
When asked to describe the feeling he gets while working on his farm: It is a lot of different feelings that wrap up into the one word of love. I’m jealous and protective of it. I’m proud of the beauty of it and feel honored to be in its presence. I’m sad to loose a tree in the wind or an animal to a predator. I want to improve it and keep it in balance and clean. I sometimes get lost in the voices in my head as I become engaged in endless conversation with myself. I’m awestruck by its nuance in its million small details of wonder, and if anyone tries to take it I’m ready to fight.