David Brandt, the farmer behind viral ‘it’s honest work’ meme, dies after car crash


A farmer who became the subject of a viral meme with his words of wisdom about “hard work” has died after he was injured in a car crash.

David Brandt, from Ohio, was a notable figure in the agriculture community due to his dedication to sustainable farming techniques and soil health, according to the Associated Press. A proponent of no-till farming, which sees crops grown without disturbing the soil, Brandt was dedicated to educating others about the environmental and climate benefits of the technique.

However, the farmer became widely recognised beyond the agricultural community in 2012, when he made poignant comments about his career during a Natural Resources Conservation Service event held on his farm.

“It ain’t much but it’s honest work,” Brandt said during the event, which proved to be a sentiment that would live on in the form of a meme of his words paired with a photo of him wearing overalls.

On Thursday, the 76-year-old was injured in a crash in Urbana, Illinois. Brandt died from his injuries on Sunday, according to the AP.

In addition to his legacy as a farmer dedicated to educating others, and as a point of joy on the internet, Brandt was also a Marine Corps veteran who’d served in Vietnam.

Following the news of Brandt’s death, individuals in the agriculture community and beyond have shared messages of condolence, with many thanking the farmer for the legacy he is leaving behind.

“You may know him from this now-famous meme, but he was so much more than that. World-renowned Ohio farmer, Vietnam veteran, loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend; Dave leaves behind a legacy that will continue to make the world a better place,” one person wrote.

Another said: “Dave Brandt, the Ohio farmer best known to most of us from the ‘But it’s honest work’ meme, has passed away following a vehicle accident. Your honest work on earth is done. Rest In Peace, sir.”

“The Ohio farmer behind one of my favourite pictures ever has passed away. Rest in peace,” someone else wrote.