A testimony from Kristin
My husband, Chris, is a farmer. He has a job he loves as an agronomist for a large farm in Eastern Oregon, but he’s had a lifelong dream of being responsible for his own ground, of planning a crop from beginning to end, of making his own decisions and then seeing the results of those decisions.
Where we live, farm ground is rarely up for sale and, when it is, it is usually very expensive. So, honestly, my husband’s dream of farming his own ground seemed just like that, a dream.
Last fall, however, we learned that an acquaintance of ours had ground available for lease. Now, before any Dave Ramsey fans get concerned, let me explain that a farm lease is significantly different than a car “fleece.” A farm lease happens when a land owner doesn’t have the ability or desire to farm their own ground. So they contract with someone who does have that ability/desire.
The person who leases the ground is responsible for the cropping decisions, labor and other inputs. Then at the end of the season, the land owner receives some percentage of the harvest proceeds as a lease payment. There’s more to it, but you get the idea.
The first thing we did after we signed the lease was head over to the local Farm Service Agency office to talk about an operating loan. You see, we’d been told about the great programs the federal government has to help out new farmers.
My husband belongs to a demographic (people under 35) that doesn’t seem to be interested in farming anymore and so the government has assorted programs to encourage and help these new farmers out. And besides, you can’t farm without an operating loan, can you? There are a lot of expenses in farming before there is any income. These expenses are why so many people use operating loans.
But as much as we wanted to realize this dream, we didn’t want to go into debt to do it… and our previous experience with government loan programs (Sallie Mae) hadn’t been that positive anyway. So we decided to just be weird and finance our own farm dream.
And that’s what we did!
Something lovely has happened as a result: we are learning to trust God even more deeply than before. Every time we write a check for seed or chemical or equipment we pause and ask God to bless this crop. Every time we take the kids out to “our” field we pray and ask for God’s protection and provision for the barley that is growing there.
Right now, as I am writing this, rain is pounding on the window and my kids are antsy at another day inside but I’m thanking God for watering our field. And later this summer when we harvest that barley and there is some income from this venture, we will stop and praise God for His abundant favor.
Kristin loves Jesus. She is wife to Chris and mom to 6-year-old Helen and 4-year-old Patrick. She looks forward to a summer of peas fresh out of the field, combine rides, and watermelon seed-spitting contests.
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