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Down on the Farm

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And that, folks, is the entire state of Ohio.

"In 1912, a tumbleweed lazily blew across the dusty prairies of Oklahoma on a soft summer breeze, an event long remembered as the only thing ever to happen in the state."

Settings on farms in rural regions are the natural home of the Country Cousin, Country Mouse, Determined Homesteader, Farm Boy, Farmer's Daughter, Half-Witted Hillbilly, and anyone with a Hayseed Name. Stories set here tend to focus on the day-to-day struggles and drama of running and operating a farm — though an interruption by the extraordinary is not out of the question.

Farm settings are a fixture of The City vs. the Country plot, where the farm's residents are usually Closer to Earth thanks to the character-building hard work of plowing and harvesting. Due to the fact that farming was a more common occupation in the past, many works treat this setting with a certain amount of rose-tinted glasses nostalgia. In American media, this often overlaps with Settling the Frontier, as taming the land through farming is linked with national ideals of Manifest Destiny and determined individualism.

Animal stories, on the other hand, tend to take a less idealized view, and often use the farm setting as an allegory for something else in human society.

In old theatrical cartoons with farm settings, the soundtrack may include standard snippets of farm-themed songs like "Old MacDonald Had a Farm". Almost anywhere, expect stock barnyard animal noises— squealing pigs, clucking chickens, etc.

May be adjacent to a small Quirky Town or an Everytown, America or involve Small Town Boredom.

Sister Trope to Corny Nebraska. Compare Arcadia, which is an idealistic pre-modern countryside setting. Farms in the rural Midwest are also covered by Flyover Country, while the rural South is the Deep South or Sweet Home Alabama, but every country has their own version of Down On The Farm. In the southern rural areas, there may be a Hillbilly Moonshiner operation hidden in the backwoods. May overlap with Pastoral Science Fiction.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hiromu Arakawa's manga series Silver Spoon takes place in Hokkaido (considered the "farming" prefecture in Japan), and is about farm life.
  • Softenni is set in Hokkaido, and Asuna the main protagonist lives on a farm. Her family cow Hanako wandering loose is a Running Gag.
  • Laura, the Prairie Girl: The Ingalls work on a rural Wisconsin farm, with chickens, horses, dogs and ducks. Laura and Mary help care for the animals while their parents do most of the farming work.
  • The Murrays from Kaze no Shōjo Emily run a small Canadian farm, with Jimmy doing the brunt of the caretaking.
  • Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow: The Popples run a farm for a living, but after three years of failing to attain success, they have to turn to odd jobs to survive and Arthur becomes an alcoholic.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: The strip's comical, anthropomorphic cows and chickens inhabit stereotypical farms, portrayed as barns full of hay surrounded by big open fields.

    Film — Animated 
  • Barnyard is a film that explores the lives of farm animals that act much like humans when the humans aren't looking. Otis, a party animal cow, has to learn to accept the responsibility of looking out for others when one night of irresponsibility leads to the death of his father, Ben, at the hands of the evil coyote Dag and his pack.
  • Charlotte's Web: The story takes place on two different farms; the Arable's and Zuckerman's.
  • Chicken Run takes place on a chicken farm in rural England. As a parody of Great Escape films with the chickens as the protagonists, it's not too positive of a portrayal, and the villain is a greedy farmer's wife who wants to mechanize the farm and kill all the (formely egg-laying) hens.
  • Crac: In the forests of Quebec, a woodsman chops a tree into a rocking chair, which is sold to a farmer. The family use the chair over many years, while bucolic, rural Quebec becomes steadily less bucolic and less rural. All of this is seen from the perspective of the chair.
  • Day & Night: The film opens with a farm rooster crowing at daybreak, then the camera pulls back and things get weirder as we find out that the farm scene is actually contained within the creature Day.
  • Gumby: (From the 1995 film): Most of the film takes place within a book titled, Down on the Farm. After Gumby and Pokey have fixed everything up, Gumby crosses out the "Down" and replaces it with "Up" on his way back to space.
  • "Swooner Crooner": Porky Pig is the manager of the "Flockheed Eggcraft Factory", a chicken farm.
  • Thumbelina (1994): Thumbelina's home is a farm, but her adventure takes her to several places.
  • "Tulips Shall Grow": A boy and a girl in the rural flatlands of Holland.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Babe: The Hoggetts' farm is the main setting of the film. It consists of a field of sheep and a barn with a variety of animals.
  • Most of City Girl takes place on the bucolic Tustine wheat farm. The film is a Deconstruction of the idea of peaceful, pastoral farm life, as Mr. Tustine is a cruel tyrant who abuses his daughter-in-law Kate, and the farmhands leer at her crudely.
  • God's Own Country is set on a sheep farm in Rural Yorkshire, and the seasonal tasks and worries of caring for the sheep and the farm's finances serve as a backdrop to the main romance story.
  • In Now and Then, grown-up author Sam Albertson, after living in New York for years, describes her home town of Shelby, Indiana as a very safe, uneventful place to live, being small and surrounded by rural land.
  • One Night in October: The story of Marcos, Kate, Britnee, and Charlie takes place on a farm where they're stalked by a killer dressed up as a scarecrow.
  • Our Daily Bread is about a City Mouse who goes off to work his wife's uncle's farm, because it is The Great Depression and he has no better options. He winds up recruiting a real farmer and various tradesmen to work the farm with him, and they eventually establish a socialist commune.
  • Paige in The Prince & Me lives on a Wisconsin dairy farm. Where they race tractors despite having no other reason to own them. And still milk cows by hand.
  • A Simple Plan is set in rural Minnesota. Hank is one of the few college graduates in the town. His brother Jacob wants to buy a farm with his share of the money they found, but Hank thinks he is being ridiculous as neither of them knows anything about farming.
  • The Southerner is about a poor white family in 1920s Texas, working their ass off over a whole year trying to raise a cotton crop on a piece of river land.
  • Tevya, as well as the later adaptation of the same source material Fiddler on the Roof, is set in an isolated Ukrainian village, full of bigotry and hate.
  • Dorothy's Kansas farmyard, with its barns and fenced-in chicken yards from The Wizard of Oz is an iconic example. At the time the original book was written, however, this was fairly accurate. And has become permanently affiliated with Kansas ever since, whether they like it or not.

  • Animal Farm takes place on a farm where the farm animals take over and push out the human farmers... then things get dark. An allegory for the history of the Soviet Union.
  • Charlotte's Web: Like its animated adaptation, the books takes place on a farm and focuses on the relationship between a pig and a spider that share the same barn.
  • Farmyard Tales: As the series' name would suggest, it takes place on a farm near a village in England and revolves around the day to day exploits of the farmer, Mrs. Boot as well as her two kids, Poppy and Sam.
  • Played for Drama and not at all idealized in The Grapes of Wrath. The story begins on an Oklahoma farm, where the Joad family is driven to poverty by to drought-induced crop failures and mechanization (the arrival of tractors). They travel to California's Central Valley, where the family work as farmworkers, and the remainder of the book focuses on the economic and social precariousness of their work.
  • The Huffin Puff Express: At one point while the express is going along the tracks, we see it pass by a farm. At another point, it passes a farmer plowing in a field.
  • The first part of My Ántonia takes place on a homestead in newly-settled Nebraska, as the narrator's family helps Antonia's family, new immigrants who have never farmed before, adjust to farming in a new land and climate. Later on the family move to town, but at the end Antonia ends up living on a farm of her own.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Tim McGraw's "Down on the Farm," which describes how country boys and girls party on Friday nights.
  • John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" about how the singer would rather have his family, farming life and especially his fiddle above anything else.
  • Ode To Billy Joe is set on a farm, with characters chopping cotton, baling hay, and plowing fields.

  • Beyond the Horizon offers a particularly grim example, as life on the farm is presented as a trap. Robert hates it and is terrible at it, and hates Ruth for making him do it—he elected to give up a life at sea and stay home on the family farm after he and Ruth fell in love. The farm eventually decays into ruin as Robert and Ruth's life descends into hatred and bitterness.
  • The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! parodies this in its first musical, "Corn!", whose setting is "Kansas in August." Big Willy sings of being so fond of farming that he's now "in love with a wonderful hoe."
  • Oklahoma!: Set on an Oklahoma farm, and deals with a Love Triangle involving the opposed factions of farmers and herders.

    Video Games 
  • All Is Dust (2015): The game is set on the Joad Family Farm, and has you play as the third generation farmer, Thomas Joad.
  • Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It: "Buy the Farm" has you on a traditional farm setting, with locales such as a shed and grain silo, and animals such as horses, cats, dogs, and donkeys. The farm has no inhabitants aside from the animals, and your goal is to fix it up, although you can travel to a nearby market once you find a means of transport. During this level, you do literal metaphors like pinning the tail on the donkey, looking a gift horse in the mouth, putting the cart before the horse, and putting your nose to the grindstone.
  • ThanksKilling Day: The main setting of the game is the family farm where everyone was getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. The silo is on the other side of a corn maze.

    Western Animation 
  • Back at the Barnyard: Continues the lives and human-like antics of farm animals from the movie Barnyard.
  • Garfield and Friends: Jon's family farm is neighbors with US Acres. The US Acres segments take place almost entirely on a livestock farm with pigs and chickens.
  • Gumby: (From the TV series): Gumby lives on a farm and trying to mechanize the farm always introduces problems.
  • Nightmare Ned: In "Canadian Bacon" Ned dreams about his pet pig taking him to live with his pig family on a farm in Canada.
  • Pinky and the Brain: "Brain Acres" has Pinky, the Brain, and a mutant carrot named Maurice move to a farm to grow Brain's genetically enhanced vegetables.
  • Shaun the Sheep: The series takes place on a farm located Oop North in England, focusing around the antics that the sheep and other farm animals get up to when the farmer's back is turned.
  • The Simpsons: Apparently, Homer Simpson grew up on a farm. His family's old farmhouse becomes important in the episodes "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)" and "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy"
  • Ugly Americans: For some reason, in "Treegasm", Wichita, Kansas is depicted as a farm.

Alternative Title(s): Rural Life