Spirituality

A Prayer for our Farmers 

At Lammas tide, which on August 1st, it is traditional to take a loaf, made from the first grain of the harvest season, to be blessed in church and to ask for God’s blessing on the ensuing harvest. This loaf is then used to celebrate communion. Given the extremes of weather experienced in the Spring and early Summer this year, it is unlikely that any farmer will be in a position to harvest any crops by this date.

Early in the year while the talk was of drought conditions and hosepipe bans, many crops started to suffer from lack of moisture, Then we experienced unprecedented and near continuous rainfall for several months. Week after week we have heard of new records for high rainfall being established; for the majority of us this has simply been inconvenient while others have suffered dreadfully through repeated flooding. For our farmers, who toil all year long to provide us with the food we need, it can mean disaster.

Mild and wet conditions are ideal for the growth of fungi which attack crops and potentially devastate the yield. This leads to a difficult and potentially poor harvest with grain prices on the increase. Sadly good harvest weather is not in sight as yet, so this is of little comfort.

In the meantime, high grain prices are pushing up feed prices for livestock farmers, who are also suffering at the hands of the weather. Thousands of stock-farmers had to bring their animals back indoors to prevent them damaging valuable grazing land in the wet conditions. Because of this, many are obliged to feed their animals with costly winter forage or costly bought in feed – and with haymaking badly hampered until the weather improves, there is little prospect of being able to replenish those stocks before this coming winter. Without such reserves, many are very worried about the welfare of their animals in the cold months to come.

On top of all this, we see dairy farmers, many of whom are already trying to cope with the devastation of bovine tuberculosis among their herds, having to contend with draconian price cuts for their milk, bringing them to a level, which for many is totally unsustainable. There is a very real likelihood of many dairy farmers simply going out of business.

Farming has always been a risky business and farmers are well used to managing those risks. This year, however, is proving to be quite exceptional, bringing with it concerns of a much greater magnitude than normal. When these worries are amplified by the isolation of rural living and the sense of neglect felt by many farmers, increasing pressures can prove too much, sometimes resulting in tragic and devastating consequences.

So  take a moment to consider the plight of our farmers and their families. They have the burden of feeding the nation while managing and caring for our countryside in such difficult circumstances.

 

The Right Reverend Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough, has composed the following prayer:

Heavenly Father,

the earth is yours and the harvests are your bounty.

We pray for our arable farmers

in this year of extreme weather.

We pray for our dairy farmers

with supermarkets forcing the price of milk down

and with bovine TB in some parts of the country.

We ask your blessing on the harvest

and on all who work in farming.

We ask that farmers facing difficult times

may know your love

and our support.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Thank you for your support of the farming community, especially at this difficult time.

Farm Crisis Network is available to provide practical and pastoral support to anyone in the farming community. FCN’s national helpline operates from 7.00am to 11.00 pm every day of the year: 0845 367 9990

Our Values
Our values, the things we really believe in, shape our own lives and the people around us.  The words below were first published in an advert in New Holland Machinery in 1975 and the author is not known.
As we celebrate our Harvest Festivals they remind us that farming is not just a job but a way of life.  And they challenge us to consider what we hold most dear.
What would you write in your creed?
The Farmer’s Creed
I believe a man’s greatest possession is his dignity and that no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming.
I believe hard work and honest sweat are the building blocks of a person’s character.
 I believe that farming, despite its hardships and disappointments, is the most honest and honourable way a man can spend his time on earth.
 I believe my children are learning values that will last a life time and can be learned in no other way.
 I believe farming provides education for life and that no other occupation teaches so much about birth, growth and maturity in such a variety of ways.
 I believe many of the best things in life are indeed free: the splendour of a sunrise, the rapture of wide open spaces, the exhilarating sight of your land greening each spring.
 I believe true happiness come from watching your crops ripen in the field, your children grow tall in the sun, your whole family feel the pride that springs from their shared experience.
 I believe that by my toil I am giving more to the world than I am taking from it, an honour that does not come to all men.
 I believe my life will be measured ultimately by what I have done for my fellowman, and by this standard I fear no judgement.
 I believe when a man grows old and sums up his days, he should be able to stand tall and feel pride in the life he’s lived.
 I believe in farming because it makes all this possible.
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