by Terry J. Hallock

When All You've Got Is God's Promise, All You'll Get Is God's Best
Terry J. Hallock
James 5:7-11
Bless the Seed and Soil
Sunday, May 16, 1999

These are not easy times to be in agriculture, as if any time has ever been "easy" to be in agriculture. For those not aware the "family farm" is rapidly becoming a distant memory. Corporate farms, such as the swine operations, which have been heatedly debated in Knox County, are become more the norm than the exception. Even those farms which remain in one families name must now buy or cash rent more and more acreage in order to produce enough crops to realize even a modicum of profit in an age of continually dwindling commodity prices.

Farm families face the choice of either going into staggering debt to purchase new machinery or hope the old equipment lasts. The possibility of a lender foreclosing is never far from their thoughts. And the pressure to give up on the legacy of the farm way of life and move to the city in order to find a living wage is constantly present.

But the difficulties do not confine themselves to the family on the farm, for the difficulties on the farm reach out and touch every person that farm family deals with. I read recently of a small town in South Dakota typical of the harvest these tough times for agriculture are producing. Only a decade ago that little town had two grocery stores, a hardware store, several restaurants, three gas stations, and a grain elevator. Today, because of falling farm prices, that town has no grocery stores, one restaurant, one gas station, and the elevator. When the farmer hurts so do the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker. The business that sells fuel to the farmer hurts because the farmer can't afford the product. The restaurant to which the farmer used to take his family on a Saturday night loses because the farmer doesn't have the money to spend. The grocery store, which used to sell the farmer food doesn't because the farmer doesn't have the funds t ...

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