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Planting season begins with tractor blessing ceremony

LELAND – Local farmers used some prayer and faith Sunday to welcome the start of planting season after a long and harsh winter.

A tractor blessing ceremony took place Sunday morning in the southern edge of DeKalb County at Suydam United Methodist Church, 9931 Suydam Road, Leland. The Rev. Jodeen Immer, church pastor, blessed farmers with soil, seeds and water during the church’s fifth year of the special service.

“You are the caretakers of the world,” Immer told churchgoers, many of whom were farmers. “The seeds that you plant, with God’s help, feed the world.”

Immer and the Rev. Young-Mee Park used an evergreen branch dipped in a bucket of water to bless 10 tractors in the church parking lot.

One farmer whose tractor was blessed was Mark Tuttle, president of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. During the church service, Tuttle read a poem entitled, “So God Made a Farmer,” which was famously delivered by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey in the 1970s during a farmer’s convention.

“And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer,” Tuttle read.

Suydam United Methodist Church is an agriculture-based church, Tuttle said. The harsh winter forced farmers to do things they normally wouldn’t have to do. Farmers are now praying for warmer weather, variables only God can control, he said.

“You have to have a lot of faith being a farmer,” Tuttle said. “We pray for good weather so we have peace of mind.”

Churchgoers read scriptures from the Bible and their own prayers to usher in the spring. In their opening prayer, they prayed for a bountiful harvest.

“We pray that all modern farm machinery now in use in our DeKalb District will help sustain the earth’s riches and provide for future generations,” people prayed.

During her sermon, Immer told stories of her daughter planting produce across five large plots of land all by herself. She also included an anecdote of a 2,000 year-old seed recently discovered in Israel growing into a Judean date palm.

No matter what a seed endures, it always has a chance to grow into the beginning of a new life, Immer said.

“A seed is strong. A seed can survive,” Immer said. “Never underestimate the power of a seed.”

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