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The internet's favorite farmer David Brandt has died at the age of 76

The internet's favorite farmer David Brandt has died at the age of 76

He became an unlikely internet sensation after becoming the face of a meme

The internet’s favourite farmer David Brandt has died at the age of 76 – and while you might not think you know the name, you certainly know the face.

According to the Associated Press, Brandt died on Sunday 21 May, having been involved in a vehicle crash in Urbana, Illinois, on the Thursday before.

Brandt, a Marine Corps veteran who had served in the Vietnam war, was known for his dedication to no-till farming – an agricultural technique for growing crops without disturbing soil through tillage.

He had turned to the practice with wife Kendra in 1971 as a way of cutting costs, but went on to become its biggest advocate.

In fact, it even turned him into a world-famous meme.

Brandt, who would travel across the US to talk about sustainable approaches to agriculture and soil health, shot to viral fame after comments he made at a Natural Resources Conservation Service event held on his farm in 2012.

David Brandt was the man in the 'honest work' meme.

“It ain’t much but it's honest work,” he said about his occupation – a simple line that would not only become famous within the industry, standing as a symbol for traditional values and farmers’ work ethic, but also on Reddit.

KnowYourMeme says the ‘honest work’ meme first surfaced on the forum site in 2018, explaining: “On October 10th, 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture posted an article entitled ‘Soil Health Campaign Turns Two: Seeks to Unlock Benefits on- and off-the-Farm,” the site explains.

“The article features a photograph of Ohio farmer and ‘soil health pioneer’ David Brandt.

“Four years later, on December 15th, 2018, Redditor pettergra posted the image in the /r/MemeEconomy subreddit, adding the text, ‘It ain't much but it's honest work.’

“They captioned the image, ‘When you post OC and get 10 upvotes instead of reposting for thousands.’ The post received more than 18,000 points (85% upvoted) and 130 comments in three weeks.”

David Brandt.
Randall Reeder/NBC

Another variation was later shared by another Redditor, who moved the text to the bottom of the picture and adding the caption ‘When your teacher asks you why you have submitted only one paper of 20 paper homework’.

KnowYourMeme adds: “The post received more than 11,000 points (97% upvoted) in 24 hours.”

According to the Associated Press, relatives have said Brandt ‘enjoyed’ the meme, even though he didn’t actually know what a meme was until he became one.

Incredibly, he only found out about his online fame when a bank teller showed the image to him on her phone.

Speaking to the Columbus Dispatch, Randall Reeder explained: “[Brandt] got a lot of joy after seeing (the meme), and seeing how it exploded all over! He didn't object to it at all.

“He was determined to educate farmers about the value of conservation agriculture, and how it would improve soil health."

Featured Image Credit: United States Department of Agriculture/YouTube/SD Soil Health Coalition

Topics: US News