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Life on the family farm under an open heaven: A very challenging spring

Tom Heck for Progressive Dairy Published on 19 July 2019

In farming, as well as in life, things sometimes go totally different than what a person expects or plans. This last winter proved to be a very hard one with all the ice, snow and bitter cold. Spring finally came, and with it the realization that most of our hay fields had terrible winterkill.

It’s the worst winterkill I’ve seen in my entire life. And it’s not just my hay fields; it’s true of hay fields all across the Midwest.



Since our cattle eat a lot of hay, we decided to seed down a lot of new hay. That was a challenge though, since it started to rain and rain and then rain some more. In between all the rain, we did manage to get a few days in which we were able to get the hay in. I did have to stay out of the lower corner of one of my fields though, since the ducks and geese were swimming around in it. Sometimes you have to plant what you can and leave the rest lie. I’m sure it will be a couple of months at least before those acres dry out. We put in some long days to get it in, but I’m sure glad we did because right after we had it planted, it started to rain a lot again.

In between all the rain showers, we managed to get our corn planted too. In the process of working that land, I managed to plant my big tractor twice – and real good at that. And right after we got the corn planted, it rained a lot more again.

I must say, it’s been a very challenging spring, but God’s grace and provisions are sufficient. We are so thankful to the Lord that we were able to get our crops planted. Our hearts and prayers go out to the many farmers who haven’t been able to get their crops planted this spring and have had to leave many acres unplanted. As a farmer, I know it is very difficult to look at an empty field all summer long knowing there should be a beautiful crop there, and there isn’t. No matter how bleak things look, God is always so good and faithful. When things look dark, that’s when we really need to look to Him and trust Him.

With our crops planted, we look to the Lord to bless the seed we sowed, that it will bring forth an abundant harvest. We desperately need it so we can feed our cattle for another year, and so we have food to eat too. We pray to the Lord to provide for us our daily bread every day, and rightly so.

Sadly, many people in our country today don’t even realize where their food comes from or whom they should be thanking for it. It would be so wise for them to thank the farmers who work so hard to produce it and to thank the Lord who blesses and gives the increase. For without God’s blessings, we would all starve.  end mark


Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Email Tom Heck  or order his book at Tom Heck Farm.