Smile Politely

Internet legend by meme, “Godfather of soil health,” Dave Brandt tragically passes away in C-U

Farmer standing in front of a field of corn, wearing blue overalls, a plaid shirt, and a grey hat.
Dave Brandt

Even though farmer Dave Brandt never actually said the words “it ain’t much, but it’s honest work,” his likeness was known throughout the endless rivers of the internet because of the meme that donned his face. Brandt passed away tragically last weekend at the age of 76 after his truck crashed near Champaign. Per WGN’s report, last week Brandt was “driving home to his Fairfield County farm after picking up red corn near Champaign, Illinois” and was taken to Carle in Urbana by emergency responders. Naturally, we at Smile Politely send our condolences to his family at this time.

Here’s some backstory behind the creation of the truly wholesome meme, per the WGN report:

Called “the godfather of soil health” by Reeder, Brandt also became a staple in internet culture thanks to a 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture article about his farming techniques. A Redditor picked up the attached photo of Brandt four years later and added the text, “It ain’t much, but it’s honest work,” according to Know Your Meme. The picture birthed a new meme format that rapidly spread across Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

While it isn’t our typical beat to post about news like this, given that this took place here in Champaign, it felt worthy of some commemoration. The area, and Illinois generally of course, are widely known for our advances and expertise when it comes to agriculture. Not to mention the Morrow Plots near the UGL.

Executive Editor

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