The Farmer Lingo Quiz

By: John Miller

The Farmer Lingo Quiz
Image: Photo by Benji Mellish from Pexels

About This Quiz

Howdy folks, it’s time for us to knock ‘round this special farming lingo quiz. After you’ve finished clearing the watercourses and cut brush from the terraces, we’ll get on up to that one-horse town and see what’s crackin’. Can you cut through the weeds of this farming slang quiz?

If you’re a farmer, you know you’re “in for it.” The farming life is by no means for everyone. It requires dedication, hard work and a combination of natural instincts paired with business sense. Many small farmers simply can’t hack it, and retreat to city life. Others stick it out “in the sticks” and learn to pull crops with the best of them come harvest time. Can you recall some of the more obscure terms and phrases from farm life?

Those spent hens and dry cows are giving you fits. What will you do with them, especially when you’re already struggling with a hailed out back 40? That Jimmy-rigged combine is only going to last so long, and then how will you pay back the bank?

Are you a true farmer or just a boot-lickin’ wannabe? Time to cut beans and make hay with this farm lingo quiz!

Country folks know this one well. If a farmer says he will "be a minute or two," what's he really saying?
He did it three weeks ago.
He'll drop everything and be right there.
It's already done.
It'll be a while yet before he gets to it.
Farm life moves at its own pace, one that's often slow and purposeful. If a farmer says he'll be along to do something "in a minute or two," it could be an hour.

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If someone tells you something is "catty corner," what do they mean?
It has no value.
It's defunct.
It's where the farm cats live.
It's on the opposite corner.
In rural areas, "catty corner" is a very common term. It means the opposite corner of something, perhaps on the other side of the street, or on the opposite side of the field.

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If you're going "make hay while the sun shines," what are you going to do?
Clean your bedroom.
Smoke some meats.
Dry hay in the field.
You can't harvest hay until it's dry. So farmers cut hay and leave it in the sun while they can, returning later to bale it.
Finish your laundry.

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There's work to be done. What's happening if you're "lollygagging"?
Trying to locate a wrench
Combining corn
Feeding calves
Wasting time
Profitable farms are busy places and there's no room for lollygagging. Because if you are, you're wasting time.

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Forget the ER! Which phrase indicates a farmer got injured on the job?
"Locked and loaded"
"Hoarded a mite"
"Dinged up a little"
Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs around. It's nothing for a farmer to "get dinged up a little," perhaps with a broken bone, and keep right on working as if nothing happened.
"Parted the waters"

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What does it mean if something is "thick as ticks on a dog's back"?
There's a lot of them.
Country dogs attract ticks by the dozens or hundreds. So if something -- say weeds -- are common, they are as numerous as ticks.
There are hardly any.
You're indifferent.
You're running from the law.

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What's a "dry" cow?
A baby cow
A cow that's not producing milk
Dry cows are those that aren't currently producing milk. This typically refers to cows that are about to have calves and are thus not being used for milking purposes.
A bull
A cow that died

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You're going to have to Jimmy-rig that tractor. What's that mean?
Pull it out of the mud.
Fix it however you can.
Farmers can fix anything … by any means necessary. Fixing things in a creative fashion means you're Jimmy (or Jerry) rigging something.
Tell Jimmy to drive it.
Take it to the shop.

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If a farmer is going "just down the road," how far is she going?
About 50 feet
One field
Quite a ways, by city standards
You bet that it's not walking distance. In the country, "just down the road" could be 5 miles … or 30 miles.
Exactly 200 miles

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If a dairy farmer is "putting on her wedding clothes," what's she doing?
Feedling the cattle
Preparing a cow for a show
Some dairy farmers have show cows that they take from expo to expo in hopes of winning a prize. If it's time to "put on her wedding clothes," you're getting that cow ready to show.
Pasteurizing milk
Getting ready for marriage

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Everyone needs them for the working life of the farm. What'll you do with those "clod hoppers"?
Herd the cows.
Smash the crops.
Put them on your feet.
Clod hoppers are those big shoes or boots that farmers wear all the time. With clod hoppers, you can stomp your way through dirt clods with reckless abandon.
Harvest corn.

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You've gotta get out there and round up the heifers. What are you going to do?
Castrate the bulls.
Gather the female cows.
In farming, everyone knows what heifers are. They're the female cows. And you can try to herd them up by hand ... but good luck with that.
Feed the chickens.
Locate the ducks.

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If you went to the honky tonk and "got someone's goat," what did you do?
Made someone mad
No one is entirely sure where this one comes from. But to "get someone's goat" means you've annoyed or angered them.
Drove like a crazy person
Became intoxicated
Stole livestock

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If a farming is working on "A.I." today, what's she doing?
Artificial intelligence
Computer work
Paperwork
Animal breeding
In farming, "A.I." has nothing to do with artificial intelligence. It's artificial insemination, which is critical to the breeding of various livestock.

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If you catch dairy farmers waxing poetic about "ladies," to what are they referring?
Family members
Chickens
Cows
For dairy famers, the "ladies" are a livelihood. They are the milk cows that make the business go.
Cousins

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If something is "tore up," what do you mean, exactly?
It's ruined.
"Jimmy got his knee tore up trying to pull that tractor out of the muck. He's in the ER as we speak." "Tore up" means totally ruined.
It's high-class.
It's very expensive.
It's extra fun.

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Don't check the expiration date. What's a "fresh cow"?
A cow that just gave birth
"Fresh cows" are those that just gave birth to little calves. Farmers keep an eye on fresh cows because their immune systems are vulnerable for a few weeks after the trials of labor.
A white cow
A one-year-old calf
A black cow

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If a farmer puts an animal "out to pasture," what does that mean, exactly?
It is sold for profit.
It is given to the neighbor.
It is retired from work.
As farm animals age, they're often no longer useful for work, but farmers still keep them around. The animals are "put out to pasture."
It is butchered.

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Keep your distance. Farmer John is ready to the talk the hind leg off a donkey. What's that mean?
He needs a new hired hand.
He's flat broke.
He's so hungry he'd eat his own horse.
He talks way too much.
If you're always talking the hind leg off a donkey, you may need to work on your active listening skills. Because you talk way too much.

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It's a ton of work no matter how you look at it. What are you going to do in the "parlor?
Visit with neighbors.
Milk the cows.
The parlor is the part of the dairy where the cows are milked. Modern dairies have amazing machines that do the hard work in the parlor.
Seed the fields.
Create new fertilizer.

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"By hook or by crook, I'm gonna get this combine fixed." What does that mean?
You're clueless.
By any means necessary
Farming leaves no room for excuses. You have to get things done by hook or by crook -- by any means necessary -- or there will be hell to pay.
You're emotionally crushed.
You'll hire a felon for the job.

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If you make a statement and your friend says, "in a pig's eye," what does he really mean?
He can't find his children.
He strongly disagrees.
"In a pig's eye!" If someone says this to you, you can bet that they strongly disagree with whatever it is you're saying or doing.
He has extra hogs for sale.
He wants to help

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On the farm, what are you going "to get up with"?
A tractor
Your hound dog
Perhaps some friends
"Get up with" means to get together with someone. "Yeah, me and Mabel are gonna get up with the neighbors down the way. We ain't seen 'em since harvest."
Your fishing rod

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Which of the following best describes something done on "a lick and a promise"?
A task completed by children
You were very diligent.
Something done haphazardly
"He plowed that field on a lick and promise! He did such a terrible, careless job that I'm going to have to redo it for him."
You totally forgot about it.

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It's something small, like your hometown in Iowa. How many horses is it?
One horse
If you're going to a one-horse town, you probably won't even see a streetlight. Because "one-horse" means it's very small.
Two horses
Four horses
10 horses

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It's a fact of farming. What's an "open" cow?
A bull
A cow that's been butchered
A non-pregnant cow
On many farms, farmers hope for as many pregnant cows as possible during the growing season. "Open" cows are those heifers that aren't pregnant, for any number of reasons.
A cow with reddish hide

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It's a sloppy phrase. What's it mean if you're happy as a pig in mud?
You're very happy.
Hogs are know for their love of flopping around in a quagmire. So if you're happy as a pig in mud, you're very happy indeeed.
You're crying your eyes out.
Your farm spouse died.
You're milking the cows.

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If a man goes out and "buys the farm," what did he do?
Died
Everyone, including city folks, eventually "buys the farm." It means they're going to die.
Overpaid
Found his lost cows
Wrecked his combine

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Where are you going to find the "back 40"?
In your rifle
On your truck hood
Far from the farmhouse
The "back 40" is slang for a section of land far from the house. If you have to make a trip to the back 40, it's gonna be a while before you return.
Inside the barn

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If an old farmer tells you to "keep it dry," you should probably do what?
Keep it a secret.
If someone tells you to "keep it dry," it has nothing to do with moisture. It simply means you should keep something secret.
Throw a tarp over it.
Place it in the barn.
Set fire to it.

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It's not a leather belt. In dairy farming, what's a "strapper"?
A small cow
A very capable showman
"Check out that strapper, he can really make that animal move!" At dairy expos, strappers are the men or women who do the best job of showing off their prized specimens.
Spoiled milk
Brand new calves

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You may hear this one commonly in the South. What's "how do" mean?
Are you home?
Where are we going?
How did you fix this blasted thing?
How do you do?
"Ah Billy, how do?" "How do" means "how do you do," and it's a common rural expression.

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It's a Friday night in summertime. You're going "hogging" at the creek. What's that mean?
Catching fish with your hands
In some places it's also called "noodling." "Hogging" means feeling around in creeks -- with your hands -- for catfish.
Fertilizing the back fields
Plowing a field
Cruising back roads

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If a farmer gets "gussied up," which of the following destinations might she have in mind?
The tractor shed
The back 40
A formal party
"Gussied up" means to get dressed up. "Wow, look at Martha all gussied up. Looks like she's going to a fancy party in Missoula."
The grocery store

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If you have to wait "until the cows come home," what does that mean?
Your wait is almost over.
Your're already late.
You have to wait for a long time.
Cows aren't known for being punctual. So if someone says you'll have to wait "until the cows come home," you're going to be waiting for a long time.
Your cows are loose.

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