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Posts Tagged ‘prayer for farmers’

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Lakeside Dairy Farm, Mineral, Virginia

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl last night.  I enjoy reviewing the commercials on the day after the Super Bowl.  One of the things I did last night instead was talk with my brother who runs our family’s dairy farm in Virginia.  He talked about how more and more family dairy farmers are giving it up, and how it’s looking more and more likely that he will, too.  Maybe even this year.

Before I even had a chance to review the commercials this morning, one of my colleagues, Andrew Taylor-Troutman, alerted me to the Dodge Ram Truck Super Bowl commercial in which Paul Harvey delivers a heartfelt tribute to farmers.  He speaks of how God needed people to get up before dawn and milk the cows…so God made a farmer.  I watched it and thought about how my father and brother could have been in that commercial.  When I was growing up Daddy knew every single cow by her name.  Then, when they started using numbers, he knew every single one by number.  “Has 196 calved yet?”  Daddy saw his work as a service to humanity and a call from the Lord.

My father is gone now.  Perhaps if they steward cattle in heaven, he is one of the chief stewards.  My brother carries on the stewarding here, and it’s hard.  Very hard.  Very difficult even to break even.  I would gladly buy local milk if I could, and I would gladly pay more for milk,  if I knew the money would eventually get to the farmers that need it.  The way the “system” is stacked against small farmers baffles me.

It also baffles me how food is cheap and abundant in our country, and yet people still go hungry.  Lord, help us.

The Harrises have been in the dairy business for over seventy years, and they have tended the land for over a century.  My heart is heavy as I think about the changes that lie ahead.

All of this calls for prayer.  And action.  Please join me in prayer for farmers, and find ways to support the farmers near you.  Show your support with your pocketbook and buy local whenever you can.  And support the rural congregations, most of which are small, that sustain our farm families.

Yes, God certainly did make farmers.  He called my father.  He called my brother.  And even now, God has a plan for this family and for this land.

You can read Andrew Taylor-Troutman’s post God, The Farmer, and You here. (Thank you, Andrew!)

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Farming is such a noble and essential calling, serving the wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants.  It is often painful to be a farmer these days.  You can steward the land and water well, take good care of God’s creatures, and, with God’s help, produce abundantly–and still be in danger of going under because prices are so low.  Many factors contribute to the struggle.  Whether it’s debt, or problems finding dependable labor, or pressure from neighbors who don’t understand what farming is all about, or something else, farming is tough.

I came across the National Catholic Rural Life Conference website, and I discovered this prayer and more there:

Prayer for Farm Families in Crisis

O God, they call it “farm crisis!”

Our costs are up and prices for our produce down.

The loan is due and there’s no money to buy this year’s

seed.

We feel alone, embarrassed in our need, like failures in our

efforts to farm.

The harder we work, the worse it seems to get.

There’s no laughter or joy anymore, just a constant

struggle to believe, to hope and to keep trying.

Strengthen us, God.

Keep us gentle and yet firm, generous yet open to receive.

Let us see your face in those who want to help and don’t

know how.

Grant us perseverance and openness to your will.

Hold our family close as we do our best to know and act

according to your will in the days ahead.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Please remember to pray for our farmers!

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