New Book Celebrates Farmers

When I Listened to a Farmer by Pete Curran blends lyrical stories of human accomplishment with astonishing photography. 

At the age of 54, fired from a job, Curran was presented an option to become a seed salesman calling on farmers in southern Wisconsin.  Loosely connected to a farm via his mothers’ hobby farm in Antigo, and cousin birthday parties at Grandma Brown & Huberts’ farm in Neenah, He started knocking on barn doors to continue to make a living.

The story, ‘Mud. Motor Oil. Manure.’ focuses on the dirty hands of a farmer which are both, strong and gentle.  “Trespassing on a Thursday” helps us see beyond the vandalized shell of a farmhouse, to see ‘the centerpiece of American family values.’  And, “We’ll Get There” introduces us to a delightful farm couple who show us the way to experience a meaningful life.

Soon to be 59 in August, 2021, Pete is now a milk tester and has published a book, via Sunbury Press, called When I Listened to a Farmer.  The title of the book came from the ‘listening interviews’ he did with several farmers before interviewing with a global seed company.

“I had never been on a farm in a business capacity,” said Curran.  “I believed I needed to ask farmers questions about their business and their life, so I might start to understand who they are and how they make decisions.”

When I Listened to a Farmer, is a celebration of farmers – and his father’s roots – so young students may know the value of a life.

In addition to his new book, his Career Gallery Exhibit, ‘a life. from dirt.,’ which premiered at the Rountree Gallery in 2020, will be on display at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days 2021 in Eau Claire on July 20, 21 and 22.  It is another expression of celebration of the possibilities available for young people to explore in agriculture. The Exhibit will be in the Youth & Career Discovery Zone.

To learn more about Currans’ ag career development platform, visit