November 2, 2022

Farming: A profession of hope

Wheat Planting


The Oxford dictionary defines resilience as "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”. I have known resilience and I have known difficulties but I have not quite known them like I have over the last year.  


Last summer was my first experience with major crop damage as a farm wife. A Kansas thunderstorm rolled through unloading large hailstones and powerful winds, severely damaging a portion of our growing corn. I could not imagine the destruction that one storm could do without a tornado. As I looked out onto the shredded leaves and bent over stalks I cried alone in my car. The thought of my husband’s hard work being for naught was a lot to process. I thought for sure the crop was a loss, however, Kip and Kyle sought wisdom from those with experience and knowledge from agricultural research at universities and devised a plan. They went to work to save the corn and a couple months later when we harvested, that farm had a respectable yield given the damage. I likely would have given up on that field if I were in their shoes but their resilience wouldn’t allow it. They quickly recovered and saved what they could.


Little did I know the glimpse of resilience from last summer was just the beginning. The country is currently in a major drought throughout the states with our area in the worst category; exceptional drought. Large cracks have formed in the ground. The kind I carry my toddler over knowing she would trip in them and her small foot would get stuck. Large enough she'd drop her "papi" that doesn't ever leave her mouth and it would fall straight down one never to be seen again. The rivers remain low and the ponds are dry. I had my home garden mowed down as I gave up attempting to keep anything alive other than my toddler or my dog while 9 months pregnant.


In the spring there were below average temperatures and the farmers had to wait until the ground was warm enough so they could get in the fields to plant. Corn was planted first then the milo and cotton. There were missed bedtimes, missed graduation parties out of town and an anniversary date that never was. They are sacrifices most farm wives and families make when time is critical. Then came the lackluster wheat harvest but we were grateful for the crop and to be finished before we welcomed our second daughter. Once the wheat was harvested double crops soybeans were planted. Corn harvest came and passed quickly in August with low yielding farms and sleepless nights with a newborn. As September neared and the milo stalks did not have heads, the chances of harvesting looked grim. The lack of rain and the prolonged high temperatures had taken an even greater toll and there was not enough to harvest to even make it worth entering the field. After milo was adjusted by insurance, then came the cotton. It was so poor all there was to do was mow it. I drove to the field with lunch for the guys, knowing full well what they were doing. Still when I arrived and saw the field turned white from the shredding of the cotton onto the ground, I cried again. He had put so much time and sweat into planting the cotton and he now had to destroy it to prepare the field for a new crop.


Wheat planting has come again and despite the drought they press on. They waited a bit later into the month for some rain to arrive to hopefully give the wheat a fighting chance. Now while he works late into the night to get just one more pass in and get closer to being finished; the other men harvest the soybeans. It’s another disappointing harvest but a harvest nonetheless. Despite all this, he will keep sowing the seeds in faith that it is going to rain again, the grain is going to sprout and produce a crop to harvest next summer. Until then, we pray for rain, pray for His provision, and pray for His peace knowing He provides for even the sparrows.


We joined him in the field last week in order to get some family time. JoAnna followed closely on his heels wanting to be involved in it all. While riding in the tractor she wanted to push all the buttons and turn the wheel. "Beep! Beep!" She’d say as she pushed on the steering wheel knocking it out of auto-steer. Kip would patiently get it back in line again. My dad likes to tell me she has my bullheadedness. I only hope she gets her dad’s resilience. If she has both there’s no telling what she will be capable of.