Hope filled harvest

• This year’s wheat harvest shows potential to be yet another miracle. Embrace it humbly.

As the 2015 wheat harvest moves toward full swing this week, we are learning that phrases often considered trite still carry truth. At least three come to mind: Wheat is a hardy crop. Miracles are possible. God’s grace is a mystery.

The 2016 harvest is reinforcing these maxims. It was maybe a month or two ago that this year’s wheat appeared challenged. A lack of rain seemed to stunt the crop’s growth and farmers were hoping to avoid a potentially challenge situation. Well, with combines rolling, the harvest appears of have gotten off to a great start, according to early reports. The harvest in Marion County appears to be of excellent quality and the yield appears strong.

In comparison to last year, the 2016 harvest season has come earlier in June for Kansas farmers. Last year’s late season rains boosted yields, but kept combines in sheds across the state until later in June. Significant, and mostly gentle, rains have made for good grain fill and kept combines out of the fields until this weekend’s dry weather.

Although 2016 yields will likely be higher statewide, a decline in planted acreage will hinder the final bushel count, according to Kansas Wheat. The latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service harvest estimate is 352.6 million bushels statewide, an increase from 321.9 million bushels last year.

So once again we add to the lore of wheat’s enduring resilience. We have renewed faith that at least on occasion life-giving rains can come at just the right time. And once again, it appears we find ourselves in a fortunate situation. Have we merited such favor? Not likely, but that’s what God’s grace is all about. It’s a gift we haven’t earned, but it’s one we anticipate with thanksgiving. When our farmers reap a bounty, so do we all. —DR