—courtesy of Soul Fire Farm

Extreme weather from violent tornadoes, heavy rain, and intense heat have put farm operations in a difficult place. Add the rising cost of maintaining a farm, the loss of land, and the effects of the U.S. trade dispute with China, and farmers are finding themselves in a difficult place.

The challenges of growing crops, coupled with the financial threat of losing their farms, have driven many farmers to take their own lives. Farmworkers and the rural communities that depend on a healthy farm economy also suffer.

The Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has issued a prayer for farmers and their communities as they navigate a valley of uncertainty and despair.

God of all creation and all who produce food for our sustenance throughout the ages and around the globe, we give you thanks this day for the witness and the work of farmers and farmworkers. As your children face innumerable challenges and yet persevere, we are grateful for their persistence, skill, and wisdom. We recognize that without farming families and farming communities, we would have no food to nourish us. We confess that some of us are so far removed from the food we eat that we are less mindful than we should be of the troubles our sisters and brothers face and of the strength and courage they muster on a daily basis.

We know that you are present in all that farmers face—from loss of income and loss of family land to falling prices, extreme weather, and more. We acknowledge that our well-being is interconnected. Help us to commit ourselves to pray for and act on behalf of the health and well-being of farmers and rural communities, to embrace the great gifts that farmers and farmworkers bring to the world, to advocate for policies that will uplift and care for them, and to live our faith even in times of great distress. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.