Prayers go toward positive outcome for farmers faced with wet fields

Ann Bailey

I was spreading straw in the horse barn during the big snowstorm when I started thinking about all of the times I had done that in the cattle barn on the farm where I grew up.

In both situations, a thick layer of bedding gave the animals a place where they could be warm and dry, instead of outside in the snowy, sloppy corral. Taking good care of the animals depending upon us was something my farmer-dad instilled in me at a young age.

As a farmer’s daughter and surrounded by neighbors who are farmers, I’ve been thinking a lot during the past month of heavy rains, snow and sleet about people who raise crops and critters. I know what a helpless feeling it is when it’s too wet to get in the fields to take crops out of them or to feed livestock in mucky conditions.

I don’t think it’s overstating things to say the situation many farmers face is serious, even dire. The soggy conditions have resulted in hundreds of thousands of unharvested edible beans, soybeans, corn, sunflowers, canola, sugar beet, potatoes – and even wheat – acres in North Dakota and Minnesota.

It’s a situation that, at the least, is a financial hit for farmers. At the worst, it could bankrupt them.


Though I am not capable of changing things, there is something I can do, and that’s to get the word out to the non-farming public about what farmers are facing. Grand Forks Herald photographer Eric Hylden and I have spent a lot of time on the road during the past month to chronicle the effects of the wet spell and snowstorm on farmers.

We want to show farmers’ challenges through photographs and words in the newspaper. As journalists, we believe it’s important for people to know because, while the number of farmers is pretty small these days relative to the urban population, the impact of what they do has not diminished.

The economy of northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota is agriculture-based, and we all will feel the ripple effect if a significant amount of the wet acres never do get harvested. The economies of small towns likely will be hurt, even if there are only a handful of farmers who leave crops in the field.

While there is a financial reality to the wet harvest, the emotional side of it can’t be measured, but is no less important. We don’t live on an island by ourselves, so we care – or should – about what happens to one another.

While none of us can make things better for farmers, we can offer our prayers for them. Non-believers and even some believers may shake their heads at my request for prayer because they don’t think it will do any good.

I respectfully disagree. I believe God can drastically change things – that would be called a miracle, something that is chronicled many times in the Bible. I do know that he will respond in some way that will make sense to us when we’re on the other side.

I also know that having people pray for you is a powerful experience in itself. As someone whose daughter had a life-threatening illness, I have witnessed the emotional lift that results from knowing others are praying for you . Knowing how much it meant to me and my family when people told us they were praying for Ellen, I make it a habit to pray for those who are in need. Farmers are in that category, so I am keeping them in my prayers.

I hope readers will, too.


Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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