The Farm Crisis Will End
“SOME who look from the outside at the situation facing farmers must question why anyone would want to continue to farm,” says Rodney, a third-generation farmer. Yet, millions worldwide keep on farming. In some developing lands, there may be little choice of employment; farming can at least help a family to have something to eat at the end of the day.
Moreover, many families feel that farming is not merely a job but a way of life. The number of people who have continued farming despite drought, disease, harsh economic conditions, and other crises testifies to their resilience and love for life on the farm. Before examining the solution to the farm crisis, let us look at how some farmers have been helped to cope.
How Some Cope
Farming brings with it several inescapable challenges. It must be acknowledged that the weather, the economy, and many other factors simply cannot be controlled. “A tough lesson for many farmers is that hard work does not always lead to success,” states a report published by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. “The work ethic ingrained into the very life of every farmer does not always provide the rewards it promises. For every farmer, there are conditions and factors that are out of his or her control.” Describing how he managed to stay happy, one elderly farmer said: “I’ve just learned to cooperate with the inevitable.”
An ancient proverb states: “He that is watching the wind will not sow seed; and he that is looking at the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4) Uncertainty and indecision can be paralyzing. Replacing negative thoughts with positive actions can help to reduce unnecessary stress.
A proper diet, adequate rest, and proper exercise can also reap results. The Western Producer reports that farmers who stay healthy “make better decisions.” A farmer named Eugene and his wife, Candace, told Awake!: “Adequate rest helps us to cope with stress. Problems seem smaller and easier to solve when we are rested. Proper meals also help, especially when eaten together as a family.” This advice harmonizes with what the Bible says: “Every man should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.”—Ecclesiastes 3:13.
Supporting the Family
One farmer told Awake!: “Many farm families have had to support themselves with off-farm employment. Although this is intended to relieve financial stress, other stresses connected with relationships can set in. Some farm families that were once close-knit have now grown apart.” How can families cope?
Some 2,700 years ago, family heads were admonished: “Prepare your work out of doors, and make it ready for yourself in the field. Afterward you must also build up your household.” (Proverbs 24:27) Randy, a father and fourth-generation farmer, says: “Taking time to show appreciation to the rest of the family is a must. Each member of the family needs support and love. Kind words and deeds make everyone feel wanted and appreciated.”
Children especially need reassurance when drastic changes take place. The loss that children feel after the foreclosure of the family farm has been compared to that of children whose parents have divorced or died. They need to know that they are not to blame for the problem and that the family will stay together.
How Others Can Help
Stressed-out farmers may keep to themselves, avoiding even their friends. (Proverbs 18:1) During times of distress, however, a person needs the support of others more than ever!
Do you have any friends or neighbors who are suffering as a result of the farming crisis? Simply showing empathy to such ones can be helpful. “The fact that our friends realize the hardships we are going through is a comfort in itself,” says a farmer named Ron. Yes, take the initiative to visit your friends and listen as they express their feelings.
Jack benefited from such visits. He relates: “I fondly recall occasions when my friends observed my stressful situation and paid me a loving visit to encourage me.” A deep understanding of farming operations is not needed for a person to be supportive. Rodney, quoted at the outset, says: “Just the fact that my friends realize that I have a heavy work load gives me the strength and desire to do what I can.” We are reminded of the Bible proverb: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—Proverbs 17:17.
A Permanent Solution
The farm crisis is just one of many evidences of man’s inability to manage the earth and its resources successfully. The prophet Jeremiah said: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Clearly, man is in need of divine help. And you can be confident that such help is on the way.
The Bible record states: “Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) Yes, it was our Creator’s command that gave birth to agriculture! Centuries later, God brought his people the Israelites into the land of Canaan. Regarding that land the inspired record states: “Of the rain of the heavens it drinks water; a land that Jehovah your God is caring for. The eyes of Jehovah your God are constantly upon it, from the beginning of the year to the close of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:11, 12) Jehovah also provided laws that protected the Promised Land from misuse. For example, the Israelites were to let their fields, vineyards, and olive groves lie fallow every seventh year. (Exodus 23:10, 11) Thus the land’s fertility was preserved.
We can be confident that in the future under the rule of God’s Kingdom—a heavenly government headed by Jesus Christ—the earth will enjoy unprecedented agricultural productivity. (Isaiah 35:1-7) While on earth, the appointed Ruler of this Kingdom, Jesus Christ, demonstrated his ability to control the natural forces that affect agriculture. (Mark 4:37-41) Psalm 72 describes the conditions that will exist when he exercises this power to heal the earth and its inhabitants. It assures us: “There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains there will be an overflow. His fruit will be as in Lebanon, and those who are from the city will blossom like the vegetation of the earth.” (Psalm 72:16) Unusually abundant harvests, reaped with exquisite joy, await God’s people in that promised new world.
[Blurb on page 9]
“A tough lesson for many farmers is that hard work does not always lead to success”
[Pictures on page 10]
Caring for the emotional and spiritual needs of family members can help them cope
[Picture on page 10]
Under divine rule, the earth will produce food superabundantly
[Picture Credit Line on page 9]