Sleepless Thoughts from a Midwest Farmer
I’m doing something right now that I am not proud of. The bible says that we “should not be anxious”, but I have to admit that right now, I am. An element of this anxiety could be from the fact that it is 12:22 am and I have gotten 3 hours of sleep the past two nights. There is also an element that is just reality and seldom do I have trouble sleeping, but tonight I am.
On our farm, the planting progress went from about 20% to 38% in the past 3 days and for that, I am thankful. We were forecasted to have some scattered thunderstorms late yesterday afternoon, but scattered became widespread and we have received anywhere from .7” to 2.2” across our region. It is now June 6th and we have 40% of our corn planted. The hard truth is this could be the only corn we get to plant this year.
What is most difficult about this time is that I am realizing how widespread this issue is and how many people are affected. The geographical area of this challenge is huge. Every farmer is affected of course, but with every farmer there are multiple relationships that will suffer financial consequences. The amount of seed, pesticides, fuel, fertilizer, and services that are NOT going to be sold is staggering. The potential reality that major amounts of corn acres could shift to “something” else has domino affects on markets and plans for those that rely on corn to feed livestock. Of course, I am concerned about the financial impact to our farm, but I am more concerned about the “unknown” impact this might have on the entire agriculture sector and rural communities.
Farmers are extremely vulnerable to the environment, both the physical environment and the emotional one. I am determined to be a part of the agricultural team that chooses to stay positive. We have always been an industry of hope and there has always been faith involved in farming. This just happens to be the moment that I can see more negative in the unknown if I choose to think about it.
Much of the world lives with many more “unknowns” than we do. For so many, their crop IS their food and the idea that insurance could offset some financial burden is truly a foreign concept. We feel like we are on the edge right now, but the reality is, we are spoiled. Not a self-centered, whiny, entitled sort of spoiled, but a reality that our lives are pretty soft – sort of spoiled. I am trying to learn what I am supposed to learn from this.
This brings me back to my first thought – I am not proud of being worried about this farming season, even though there is reason to worry. My lessons for the year are not over yet, but for now, I am content to learn how to process a tougher than normal situation. This is a really big boat that the agriculture industry is in but, we ARE in it together. There will be those that sit in the boat and fight over life jackets and there will be those that grab an oar and keep on rowing. We will all eventually get to the shore. We get to choose the role we play in getting there.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9