This poster of the little farmer boys is by far one of the most famous prints in the farming community. Almost everyone has a memory of seeing this in their parent’s or grandparent’s house, or at a business in town. Not surprising because over 1 million copies of the poster were sold! But where was it taken? And when? And how did it get into so many households?
It began in California in 1978 and it is a story that cannot be made up. A woman took this photo of her twin sons to send to a family member and incredibly it came out just right or so she thought at least. Because she thought it was a great photo in most aspects, she entered it into the county fair. Many people saw it and thought highly of the photo and therefore requested a copy. She happily sent photos to people, all along not thinking too much of it but happy that people enjoyed the photo.
A while later down the road, she got a call from Roy Reiman, the founder of Reiman Publications, he wanted to publish her photo. He offered her $250 one time for the rights to print a poster or 1/2 cent for every poster that sold… you can probably guess what unfortunate choice she made. (She needed a new washing machine because hers was broken, an understandable choice I think.) Reiman added the tagline, “You been farming long?” which was the perfect addition to this print and people went crazy for it! Later on, however, they began printing and producing more items featuring the little farmer boys and she did, in fact, receive per piece royalties on those items.
Over the years this poster always has and always will remind so many of us of our childhood on the farm and ultimately that is the happy ending in my opinion.
You can find the story as told by the original photographer here: http://www.oocities.org/heartland/valley/2252/lttlfrmr.html