Everyone knows about farming. Farming is simple and picturesque, right? It happens in the country, where there's grass and trees and fields. Farmers are simple, hard-working people who till the soil, with a tractor if they're modern or a plow if they're historical. They grow crops, raise animals, and live a simple, healthy life in a natural setting, free from the complications of modernity. [[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife If we were less addicted to the internet]], [[CallToAgriculture we'd probably all go join them.]]

And surely we'd have no trouble doing so. Farmwork is well known to be unskilled. You don't even have to go to college to run a farm, let alone work on one. Sure, of course it's hard work. But it's not ''complicated''. We could totally do it if we just buckled down.

This misconception of farming shows up fairly often in fiction -- usually as a result of a character (or the writer) being a CityMouse.

In fact, farming is extremely complicated. A farmer working a diversified farm has to be a highly skilled generalist with specific, situation-relevant knowledge from a dozen different [[IncrediblyLamePun fields]], from botany to mechanics to veterinary medicine to chemistry to entomology. What's more, a real mistake (or for that matter a late frost) can spell disaster: a ruined crop can't be fixed, and can't be replaced until the ''next year''. There can be long stretches of leisure time, but this is because you can't speed up either the plants or the animals, or the seasons. (And farmers who can often do odd jobs during those stretches, to eke out the necessary money.) [[Radio/APrairieHomeCompanion Garrison Keillor's]] farmers in Lake Wobegon speak of these things often and give you a much more realistic idea of what it's like.

The historical farmer didn't have it any easier; driving a tractor is in fact considerably simpler than getting a mule to do exactly what you want it to.

And that unskilled labor like hoeing and picking? Yes, any newbie can do that. If a farmer is willing to pay them the same rate as experienced people who can do the work five to ten times faster.

If a character who has no experience farming takes to running a farm without a noticeable learning curve, that is this trope. (In the case of a "gentleman farmer" or hobby farmer, who's merely farming for fun with no economic pressure, the learning curve can be less steep.) If a character with no experience farming has to do some farmwork and does it with no training, no practice, and no trouble, that is also this trope.

This trope is played straight in some TheCityVsTheCountry plots (where the {{aesop}} is "city life is too complicated, you should get back to nature") and averted or subverted in others (where the [[AnAesop aesop]] is more like "everyone has his cross to bear").

It's often played straight in adventure stories where our wandering hero earns his keep at local farms as he passes through. (Does not apply, of course, if said [[FarmBoy hero]] or [[FarmersDaughter heroine]] already knows how, or is a quick study as in ''Film/{{Witness}}''.) This trope is also commonly found in {{Arcadia}}, where farming is idyllic and pleasant as well as simple, and may sometimes show up when a character is [[CallToAgriculture Called To Agriculture.]] [[https://modernfarmer.com/2014/06/stop-romanticizing-farms/ This article illustrates some of the Real Life problems]] with romanticizing farm life and how many farmers are actually devoting at least part of their land to TheThemeParkVersion to attract tourist$.



[[folder: Anime/Manga ]]

* Zgizagged in ''Manga/SilverSpoon''. The main character Hachiken has this attitude and thinks that since he got generally high marks as a junior high student in his city school, an agricultural high school should be a total academic cakewalk. He finds out very quickly just how wrong he was and is frequently overwhelmed by the amount of technical skill required to do the many aspects of farming, from the basics of animal husbandry to the administrative knowledge required to run a large-scale agricultural operation. Being the obsessive studier and planner that he is, he quickly takes to the new material, at least, academically wise. Though he never gets the top marks in anything, to his disappointment, he impresses everyone else by [[JackOfAllTrades always coming in second]], while everyone else has their own subject they do well in. It's the more physical activities that go with the conceptual understanding that get him.
* Played with in ''Anime/OnlyYesterday''. The main character Taeko visits distant relatives once a year to help them harvest, getting to stay for free in exchange. While getting tired and sometimes complaining about back pain, she doesn't show any trouble with the work despite working as a office worker in Tokyo throughout the year. But since it is hinted that she has done this for quite a while, she might at least know the basics and just struggle with the physical part due to her desk job.


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/CityGirl'': Kate hates her life as a waitress in the hot, noisy, crowded city of Chicago. She dreams of the countryside as peaceful paradise, and gets the chance to make those dreams come true when she meets and marries Lem, a farmer in Chicago to sell his wheat. She arrives and finds that not only is a lot of hard work required, the people DownOnTheFarm can be just as selfish and brutal as the ones in the city.
* While discussing the industrial revolution in his classic documentary series ''The Ascent of Man'' Jacob Bronowski points out a common historical misconception. Namely, that people who used to be simple farmers were forced to work in hellish factories. Yes, he says, the factories were hellish, but farm labour in those days wasn't much better. (Though, of course, the labour of farming comes and goes with the seasons, not the case with factory life.)
* The Ba'ku in ''Film/StarTrekInsurrection'' run on this--for such a non-technological society, everything sure is clean! Then again, they ''were'' SpaceElves...
* Thoroughly deconstructed in ''[[Film/ManonDesSources Jean de Florette]]'', where a CityMouse buys a farm in rural Provence and fails utterly over the course of the film. While a lot of it is his own inexperience and over-reliance on book learnin', his job is made a lot harder by [[VillainProtagonist his neighbours]], who dam up a spring that drains onto his land, hoping to drive him off so they can buy him out cheaply; and by the villagers, who knew about the neighbours' plan, but didn't talk part out of cowardice, part out of disdain as they consider him "a stranger".
* Deconstructed in ''Film/HolidayInn'': Jim Hardy feels the CallToAgriculture and leaves showbiz to run a farm. He lasts less than a year before the hard work breaks him.
* The Disney Channel Original Movie ''HorseSense'' has a lazy and spoiled city boy being sent by his parents to Montana to work on his aunt's farm as punishment for his terrible behavior when his cousin came to visit. Both the cousin and the farm workers don't think much of the city boy and give him "simple" tasks, which he is having a lot of trouble with. Of course, the cousin deliberately withholds information that could vastly simplify those tasks (e.g. telling the city boy to move a pile of manure from one place to another, "forgetting" to mention a tractor behind the shed).
* Subverted in ''Literature/TessOfTheDurbervilles,'' where Angel, a pampered son of a preacher, gains a real admiration for those who have farmed, and will farm, all of their lives, especially in the face of catastrophe (such as one cow eating a garlic plant, resulting in that entire week's worth of butter being unusable because it tastes faintly of garlic).
** [[SocietyMarchesOn Remember, garlic butter fans]], this was supposed to take place long ago, and besides, not everyone wants garlic butter.
* Subverted in ''Film/AnotherTimeAnotherPlace''. The work Janie does is exhausting, painful and poorly paid. The other workers aren't much company either.
* At the end of ''Film/TheOmegaMan'' after the [[LuddWasRight last scientist on Earth]] has died, the survivors leave the city for an implied idyllic life in the country.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In an early sci-fi story, a time-traveling ex-dictator inexperienced with farming ends up at a farm in the Appalachians, "chopping wood" for his keep. He is asked to cut the wood into lengths that will fit into the stove ''with an ax'' (an unimaginably inefficient process given that the right tool is a saw.) He does it with no trouble.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''
** DiscussedTrope when Tiffany Aching (farmer's daughter and witch-in-training) gets her hands on a romance novel in ''Discworld/{{Wintersmith}}'', she misses the point of the story, mostly concerned with how the portrayal of farm life is all wrong.
** Subverted in Discworld/FeetOfClay: Fred Colon plans to retire to a farm... until he encounters actual, annoyed livestock for the first time. (A quick learner.)
* ''How I Edited An Agricultural Paper'' by Creator/MarkTwain is entirely based on this -- an editor not having a slightest idea about the matter giving "valuable advice". Sometimes he's even right, sort of ("the pumpkin as a shade tree is a failure").
* Volunteer Marek (a journalist and writer in his civilian life) in ''TheGoodSoldierSvejk'' tells basically the same tale as Mark Twain's one mentioned above, only about a zoological almanac. Which is, as Marek is generally a Hašek's AuthorAvatar, BasedOnATrueStory.
* Subverted in ''Literature/GoneWithTheWind'' when Scarlett and her sisters learn just how hard farming really is.
* ''[[Literature/MrsPiggleWiggle Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm]]'' abuses this trope. Kids go from town/city to her little sweet farm and take care of the animals. They all love it and if there are any hardships, they overcome them quite quickly.
* In ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'', industrialists and businessmen take to farming with no trouble at all and even have enough time left over to write symphonies and work on inventions. On one hand, they're explicitly described as the world's most capable people, but on the other, they have no specific farming knowhow and no labor but themselves.
* In Creator/JohnRingo's ''Literature/TheLastCenturion'', the titular 1st person narrator is a farmer, and goes on a long length about how complex real farming is, especially when done on the production scale necessary to feed the world. His comments on organic farming, and city people who want to "get back to the land", are equally pointed, and none too complementary.
* 16-17th century English Pastoral literature was often like this, most famously the early example of Creator/ChristopherMarlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love", in which the only reference to actual shepherding is that he will "pull" the wool from lambs to make his Love's gown. Apart from that, they're mostly going to sit around admiring the countryside. With silver plates and gold shoe-buckles. Sir Walter Raleigh's AnswerSong "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" is rather scathing about this.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Subverted on ''Series/TheFabulousBeekmanBoys'' - they believe farming life is like this, but it turns out to be much harder than they think.
* {{Exploited|Trope}} on ''Series/TheSimpleLife'', where Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie go to live and work on a real farm.
* In ''Series/JohnnyBago'', Johnny's RV is out of water so he gets some from a nearby pump. Then he's informed that since the area is irrigated he basically just stole their water. He doesn't have the $20 they want so he's forced to work it off by picking cauliflower alongside the Hispanic migrant workers. He thinks he'll get done quickly but is then informed that all his picking for the day amounts to a little under $1 - not counting expenses.
* {{Subverted|Trope}} on ''Series/GreenAcres''. Oliver Douglas quits being a big city lawyer to move to the country and be a farmer. He has an idealized view of what farming is like, but when he gets there he is shown to be a terrible farmer who has worn out, outdated equipment (his Hoyt Clagwell tractor is always breaking down) and goes farming in a suit. Furthermore, he expects his wife Lisa to become a typical farmer's wife and learn how to cook, which [[LethalChef she is terrible at]]. In one episode, an agent from the Department of Agriculture even shows up to tell him he's doing things wrong, but he doesn't listen.
* Richard Kimble in ''Series/TheFugitive'' often took jobs on farms. He presumably got good at it after a while, but he never seemed to encounter any problems caused by him not knowing what he was doing.
* David Banner on ''Series/TheIncredibleHulk'' also took a lot of part-time farm jobs, and despite his background as a lab-bound research scientist he never had any trouble at it ... except when the plot dictated that he should Hulk out in frustration, in which case he'd suddenly become prone to work-related accidents.
* Parodied on ''[[Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook The Mitchell And Webb Situation]]'' with [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5RrGFBbbSY a recurring sketch]] featuring a guy under the impression that farming is a super-secret GetRichQuickScheme he's sharing with the audience. "You know sheep? A bit woolly? It's WOOL! Pull it off, sell it... fuckin' grows back again! You CANNOT lose!"
* PBS historical reality show ''Frontier House'' showed three modern-day families trying to establish homesteads in Montana the way pioneers in 1883 would have lived. After filming from June to October, a panel of historical experts were called to judge which homesteads would survive the winter. All three families were found to have insufficient firewood, one didn't have enough food for themselves or the livestock, and one, while physically prepared, was crippled by [[DysfunctionJunction developing domestic strife]].
* "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2VOb6WUPPE The Desk]]" episode of ''Series/BarneyMiller'' shows an ex-con, Gil Lesco, who had a {{Lobotomy}} and is now functioning at a very basic, almost childlike level. Also in the squadroom is an Amish farmer, Caleb Webber (played by veteran actor Jeff Corey) who's been robbed. Webber talks to Lesco about typical farm work, and ultimately Lesco decides to accompany Webber back to the farm.
--> '''Webber.''' Wake up, feed the chickens, milk the cows, get some water, chop wood, plow a few acres.
--> '''Lesco.''' Then what?
--> '''Webber.''' Breakfast.

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* Averted in ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'' when killer on the run 88 Keyes hides out by taking a job on a dairy farm. The fact that he knows nothing about dairying is obvious and quickly exposes him. (Writer Chester Gould owned a dairy farm and knew how technical much of the work is.)


[[folder: Radio ]]

* Inverted by ''Radio/TheArchers'', a long running BBC radio SoapOpera which was set up to [[{{Edutainment}} both entertain and advise]] farmers themselves, and they don't hesitate to write in and complain about the slightest mistake. As a lot of suburban and urban dwelling people also enjoy it, it's gradually moved away from the "farming advice" angle towards being more of a classic soap opera that happens to be in a rural setting. However, the show still has an "agricultural advisor" on staff to make sure they plough a straight furrow.
* There were, and still are, radio stations with a farm or rural format, featuring local and syndicated talk shows, describing every aspect of farming. You can now hear these in podcast form also. A few episodes of "Your Farm Family", "My Farm Radio" or "AgriTalk" will quickly dispense with the notion that this is in any way simple.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* The song "Farming" in the musical ''Let's Face It!'' is an expression of this belief.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The farmers in ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'' sometimes fall into this.
* Farming in ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' is much easier than in RealLife - for instance, you can make your crops grow on demand by adding bonemeal. Somewhat {{enforced|Trope}} in this as in other video games, since games are intended to be, what was that word again, ''fun''.
* ''VideoGame/FarmingSimulator'' averts this a little. While farming is definitely simpler than in real life as technicalities such as weather, soil composition, humidity, crop varieties and animal health are absent, you do have to use quite a bit of equipment to grow, maintain and harvest the different crops of the game, and feeding your animals requires an entire new set of tools and equipment. For example: to harvest thin-stemmed crops (wheat, canola, barley or soybeans) you must use a harvester with one header (and if you harvested wheat or barley, you'd better gather the resulting hay deposits with a baler and sell them to a bale dealer for a pretty sizable profit), to harvest thick-stemmed crops (sunflower and corn) you need another header, to harvest chaff for cattle fodder you need a special harvester with a suitable header and a tipper because these harvesters don't have built-in storage, to harvest poplar trees you need that same harvester with a different header, to harvest potatoes you first need a top cutter and then a tractor-pulled harvester...
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft: Mists of Pandaria'' has the farming community of Tillers, where the player can have their own farm. It's based on simple minigame, with farming of course being much easier than in RealLife. Given a HandWave by the powerfully rich soil (enhanced by the water from the Vale of Eternal Blossoms) of the zone, and on that plot of land in particular.
** Justified with the garrison herb garden in ''Warlords of Draenor'', though. You don't grow the herbs yourself, the garrison staff does it for you. You can also assign a follower with the herbalism special to it to increase your yield, thus delegating to an expert.
* ''StardewValley'' is built on this. Your protagonist, despite being a former office drone until ennui set in, has no problems handling a hoe, scythe, water can, axe or pickaxe with ease. Crops will grow just fine as soon as the seeds are planted and just needs to be watered daily and have a nearby scarecrow to keep birds away; once fully grown, can be harvested with ease. Farm animals do fine as long as they have a patch of grass or some hay to eat, and only need to be petted once in a while, besides the milking, shearing and collecting eggs stuff. However, it's implied that you have a special connection to nature (which is why the Junimo love you), which could account for your farming knack. In addition, you literally own your land completely with no bills or taxes to pay so you can put all your money towards the next purchase, and you don't even need to eat (although eating restores your health and energy, allowing you to work even more).
* Justified in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse''. Despite the complications being in a city where the sun doesn't shine due to a giant rock ceiling [[spoiler: until Shesha destroys part of it]] and needing to use artificial light for crops, most of the farmers seem happy and enthusiastic about their work. Of course, the only other job is demon hunting, which has a very high mortality rate. Farming may be hard, but it's much easier in comparison.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Both averted and played straight in the ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex'' episode "Hermanos". Rex thinks running a ranch will be simple and soon discovers that it isn't. However, Claire is able to learn an awful lot about farming just by watching videos on the internet.
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' -- Rarity tries to impress her visiting crush Trenderhoof by changing her image, as he's in love with farm pony Applejack. Their knowledge of farm life is ''severely'' limited.
** Also averted in "Magical Mystery Cure" where it shows that a pony who knows nothing of farming, in this case the fun-loving Pinkie Pie, would run Sweet Apple Acres into the ground in very short order.
* While it's mainly baking with farming on the side, King Roland from ''WesternAnimation/SofiaTheFirst'' believes this, so much that when he accidentally wishes that he was a baker instead of a king he wants to stay for a while rather than undo the spell. RealityEnsues and the family fails to adapt, with them only getting by because Sofia and her mother have actual farming experience.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* After UsefulNotes/WorldWarI the Australian government gave land grants to veterans so as to settle sparsely populated areas of the country. Many failed miserably due to a lack of support infrastructure, capital, and the general inexperience of the mostly city-raised soldiers. The project was restarted after the Second World War, this time with greater support for the farmers.
* Jim Jones's Jonestown: the cult leader tried to create his own self-sufficient village where everyone worked in the fields and could get everything they needed by farming. Though the villagers actually did very well for themselves when sent on ahead to do this alone (the food was plentiful and delicious), they still faced shortages, fertile soil washing away in the rain, and once lost some of their harvest in a storm. And eventually, a depraved cult leader hoarding what crops they ''did'' successfully produce.
* The Extended Homestead Act of 1909. Its intent was to facilitate the development of the Great Plains by providing land grants to would-be farmers. Unfortunately, this backfired spectacularly: The land was not conducive to traditional agricultural development (for one thing, the yearly rainfall estimates were based on what turned out to be a couple of abnormally wet years), and the homesteaders themselves didn't understand local ecology well enough to cultivate the land properly. Mismanagement of the land combined with one of the worst droughts in US history led to large-scale erosion and loss of topsoil, and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
* Hugely subverted in the late [[UsefulNotes/SovietRussiaUkraineAndSoOn Soviet Union]]. When the Soviet authorities started to allot the general city population small plots of land for hobby farming (and small means '''''small''''' -- they were usually 600 square meters, or about 0.15 acre), the city population, armed by the hundreds of tomes on modern agriculture, a desire to escape the dreary boredom and horrible quality of official produce and general interest, took to the farming with such gusto that within a decade the (unofficial) output of these plots begun to outstrip the output of the official, state-managed agriculture in some areas, especially vegetable production, despite most of these people having a day job and tending their suburban plots only on weekends. It spells volumes on the inefficiency of the official Soviet agriculture, but also about the intensity with which these {{City Mouse}}s cultivated their land.
* Many settlers of Canada (and other American countries) experienced this trope first hand. As Susannah Moodie describes it in her RealLife account in ''Roughing it in the Bush'': "[Folders advertising colonial farming] told of lands yielding forty bushels to the acre, but they said nothing of the years when these lands, with the most careful cultivation, would barely return fifteen; when rust and smut, engendered by the vicinity of damp over-hanging woods, would blast the fruits of the poor emigrant's labour, and almost deprive him of bread. They talked of log houses to be raised in a single day, by the generous exertions of friends and neighbours, but they never ventured upon a picture of the disgusting scenes of riot and low debauchery exhibited during the raising, or upon a description of the dwellings when raised--dens of dirt and misery, which would, in many instances, be shamed by an English pig-sty. The necessaries of life were described as inestimably cheap; but they forgot to add that in remote bush settlements, often twenty miles from a market town, and some of them even that distance from the nearest dwelling, the necessaries of life, which would be deemed indispensable to the European, could not be procured at all, or, if obtained, could only be so by sending a man and team through a blazed forest road,--a process far too expensive for frequent repetition."
* The Khmer Rouge tried to reshape the whole of Cambodia into an self-sufficient agrarian society. The result was up to two million dead.
* Many [[NewAgeRetroHippie Hippies]] turned to this in the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-to-the-land_movement back to the land movement]] after initially gathering and organizing in cities. The magazine ''[[http://www.motherearthnews.com Mother Earth News]]'' was founded to provide easy-to-understand but realistic instruction for hippie farmers. (There was also ''[[https://aliciabaylaurel.com/ Living on the Earth]]'' by Alicia Bay Laurel (still in print) and Joan Shortney's ''[[https://www.amazon.com/How-Live-Nothing-Joan-shortney/dp/0671800302/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513137562&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+live+on+nothing How to Live on Nothing]]''.) Some of these {{Commune}}s still exist today. Presumably some hippies with rural backgrounds knew what they were getting into, although [[http://kk.org/mt-files/writings/why_we_left_the_farm.pdf Stephen Gaskin's Farm had a very rough start]]. One of the harshest critics of communal life, Valerie Solanas in her "SCUM Manifesto", had the utmost contempt for male hippies who longed for The Simple Life and existence at a "mere species level" -- not because ''they'' thought it was that, but because ''she'' did. She regarded farming as a "simple, non-intellectual activity". She didn't have a clue.
* James Burke's documentary ''Series/{{Connections}}'' points out that a lot of urbanites believe that they could survive an apocalypse if they got out of the city fast enough; after all, they could just find an abandoned part of land and start farming. Yeah ... no. There's a reason that serious believers in the end of the world start building their colonies so early (and, thus, resources like night classes, mail order catalogs, and the Internet are all still up and running). There won't be time to learn later.