Sunday, January 11, 2009
The new year begins with a sense of ominous foreboding in the dairy community. The chart above shows the milk price returning to where it was two years ago. During the summer of 2007, dairy farmers were making quite a bit of money; they continued to do well until input prices (especially grain, diesel, and alfalfa hay) caught up with them last summer. Farmers are now seeing some serious red ink, and the milk futures market looks absolutely appalling.
Farmers have come to expect bruising price cycles, but the swings during the past few years are unprecedented. It takes a uniquely durable type of person to get up each morning and work a fourteen-hour day taking care of cows while knowing they are going to lose a thousand dollars before bedtime. And yet the milk continues to show up on the store shelves.
Many of the families who still run dairy farms are deeply religious; at times, only belief in the wisdom of a higher plan can keep people in such a low-margin, capital-intensive business.
We at Farm Power share the faith of these dairy farmers, the belief that God is absolutely sovereign and carries out His plan through people whether they accept Him or not. During nearly two years of work, we have been protected in more ways than we know. What others might call successes, sometimes we can only call blessings, unachievable by us on our own.
At the groundbreaking, our pastor read Psalm 8 and prayed "Bless this anaerobic digester." We thank God for our community, our families, and bringing us this far; we pray that He will bless those who are struggling in this economy and our work to bring some relief.