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Even fictional characters need to eat, so it’s no surprise farmers show up often in literature. Fictional farmers are often portrayed as hard-working and steadfast stewards of the land, earning the admiration of readers and giving their real-life counterparts a dose of respectful representation.

Here are six of our favorite fictional farmers who've managed to cultivate the affection of readers over the years.


Almanzo Wilder ("Little House" series, Laura Ingalls Wilder)

Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband, Almanzo appears in several of the "Little House" series books, beginning with “Farmer Boy,” which takes place over the course of a year in young Almanzo’s life as he grows up on his family’s farm.

As an adult, Almanzo is dedicated to starting his own family farm in the Dakota territory but faces hardship after hardship as weather and disease continuously strike his crops and family. Despite all this, Almanzo and Laura continue to work hard and keep faith that conditions will improve.

Wilder’s depiction of her husband’s industriousness and courage have made Almanzo a beloved character in the "Little House" series and an example of the perseverance required to become a successful farmer.


George Lermer (“Farmer in the Sky,” Robert A. Heinlein)

George Lermer’s farm may be on Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons, and operating in the distant future, but he has plenty in common with Earth-bound farmers of today.

George emigrates with his family to a farming colony on Ganymede to escape an overcrowded Earth. Over the course of the book, his ability to problem-solve and his insistence on monitoring the weather wind up being critical not only to his ability to farm, but also in keeping his family safe.

By the end of the book, George’s feelings about living and farming on Ganymede may have changed, but his son has already put down roots and is interested in following in his father’s footsteps. What farmer wouldn’t be proud to hear those words from their own children?


Fern Arable (“Charlotte’s Web,” E.B. White)

Fern may not be a farmer yet, but her deep ties to the farming community begin with her farming family.

After her pig Wilbur becomes too large to be kept as a pet, he’s sold to her uncle, who keeps him on his farm intending to raise him for meat, thus introducing many young, non-farming readers to the realities of livestock farming.

However, Wilbur is saved from his fate thanks to a particularly gifted spider and eventually goes on to win a livestock show at a local fair. We don’t know if Fern eventually grows up to become a farmer herself, but many farm kids can see themselves in her as she learns about farming and the roles livestock play in agriculture.

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Farmer Maggot (“The Fellowship of the Ring,” J.R.R. Tolkien)

J.R.R. Tolkien’s "Lord of the Rings" series is full to the brim with fantastical characters undergoing daunting quests and performing heroic deeds, but courage also comes in the form of Farmer Maggot, whose contributions to the hobbit’s journey may be small, but nevertheless important.

Despite his past skirmishes with Frodo, Farmer Maggot bravely chooses to protect him by turning down a bribe from a terrifying Black Rider who is hunting Frodo and the ring he carries.

After taking the hobbits in, Farmer Maggot further aids them on their journey by smuggling them to a nearby ferry, thus completing his small, but critical role in the epic quest.


The Kents (“Superman”)

It’s never clear what kind of agricultural product the Kent family farm produces. In some iterations, they raise cattle and in others they grow produce or field crops. Perhaps they’ve diversified their operation and are doing it all.

However, most people would argue that the greatest thing to come out of the Kent’s farm was never livestock or anything grown from the earth. In fact, its most important export isn’t from Earth at all: Superman.

The Kent family adopted Superman after finding his spaceship and raised him on their family farm, where he no doubt helped in getting the barn chores done in record time. Imagine moving faster than a speeding bullet when it comes time to feed the cows!


Tom Joad (“The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck)

Perhaps one of the most beloved farmers in literature, Tom Joad is the embodiment of the pragmatic and tenacious nature many farmers value within themselves.

Tom’s journey throughout The Grapes of Wrath is one of moving from self-interest toward contributing to society and helping his neighbors, even as hardships continue to befall him and his loved ones. He learns the importance of looking beyond himself and his family and understanding where he fits into the world around him.

Most farmers already understand the vital role they play in society and, like Tom and his family, aren’t afraid of hard work in less than comfortable conditions. However, the Joad family’s experiences in the California work camps will make any farmer feel grateful for their lot in life, even if it’s not always easy.