Ellis County group honors Farmers & Ranchers for being constant providers during the COVID pandemic

By Patty Hullett
For the Daily Light

While healthcare professionals and first responders have been at the top of the lists of honored “essential workers” during the COVID 19 pandemic, another vital group has been agriculturists – the farmers and ranchers whose jobs never stopped while much of the world came grinding to a collective halt.

And many of these kind-hearted folks also donated a portion of their harvest and provided meats to area food banks, local church/ community pantries, etc., to help combat the financial crisis created by the overall job stoppage. Many of their fellow Texans, Ellis County residents, and local neighbors were severely impacted.

Judge Todd Little, far left, visits with local farmers and ranchers during a free dinner hosted by Love Your Neighbor in cooperation with the Ellis County Farm Bureau on May 18 at Bluebonnet BBQ Restaurant.
Guests enjoy a free dinner courtesy of the Ellis County Love Your Neighbor group May 18 at Bluebonnet BBQ Restaurant.

To honor these unsung heroes, the Ellis County group known as “Love Your Neighbor” hosted a free dinner at an event put on with the cooperation of the Ellis County Farm Bureau on Tuesday evening, May 18, at Bluebonnet BBQ Restaurant. The Bureau members were well represented in the form of farmers and ranchers from cities such as Ferris, Palmer, Lancaster, Red Oak, Waxahachie, Ennis, Trumbull, and Maypearl.

Quoting Lisa Foust Prater’s internet post dated Nov. 30, 2019, from an organization known as “Successful Farming”, she says, “Farming is fueled by science, but it is deeply rooted in faith. Despite research and scientific breakthroughs, and despite innovations in technology, farming remains largely an act of faith. You plant a seed and you harvest a crop. You care for your livestock and they provide you with offspring. So much of what happens in between is out of your control. There are many, many Bible verses that speak to a farmer’s undeniable faith.” And even ranchers’ “cows” are mentioned 34 times.

Farm Bureau members line up for food during a free dinner hosted by Love Your Neighbor on May 18. Pastor Bruce Zimmerman, right, waits at the end of the line to give thanks at the event, held in cooperation with the Ellis County Farm Bureau at Bluebonnet BBQ Restaurant.

Farmers and Ranchers dinner

The Ellis County Farmers and Ranchers dinner was hosted and food provided by Bluebonnet BBQ on Highway 287 in Ennis. Pastor Bruce Zimmerman welcomed the crowd of approximately 70 people in attendance. County Judge Todd Little made some opening remarks and prayed for and thanked the honorees for their hard work, and then blessed the food. 

After the dinner, Scott Born of Ferris, who is president of the Ellis County Farm

Bureau located in Waxahachie, got up to address the Bureau’s members and families. He relayed how much he appreciates the dedication of the farmers and ranchers in the local areas.

Scott Born from Ferris, president of The Farm Bureau Board In Waxahachie, speaks to the crowd during a free dinner hosted by Love Your Neighbor. The event was held to thank farmers and ranchers for their contributions during the pandemic.
Pastor Wayne Shuffield Of Wagon Wheel Cowboy Church Maypearl addresses attendees during a free dinner for farmers and ranchers May 18 at Bluebonnet BBQ Restaurant.

The main speaker for the evening was Wayne Shuffield, pastor of Wagon Wheel Cowboy Church in Maypearl. He told a joke about two farmers who met to fill out government paperwork. When they finished their task, one asked the other, “What did you put down for occupation?”

The other guy answered, “I wrote down – self-employed”. How did you answer that question?”

The first fellow quickly responded, “I simply said – I’m a gambler!”

And fact of the matter, that is probably an extremely good answer. These agriculture men and women gamble on the rain – when it’s too much and too little, when the Texas heat is too hot for too long that it scorches their crops, will there be insects or other outside forces deplete their harvest, etc. It is true that so much of their livelihood is based on their faith and God’s favor to bless their work.

Pastor Shuffield praised and publicly thanked the farmers and ranchers for their tiresome work and for their determination for continuing efforts to provide for others. It is often a thankless job that largely goes unnoticed. But if their food production goes down, so goes down communities, our state, and even our nation.

Some of the local farmers and ranchers enjoy some fellowship during the Love Your Neighbor event in their honor May 18 at Bluebonnet BBQ Restaurant.
Farmers and ranchers go through the food line during a free dinner event hosted by Love Your Neighbor in cooperation with the Ellis County Farm Bureau on May 18 at Bluebonnet BBQ Restaurant.

Shuffield says, “These essential workers are truly the backbone and foundation of our country. Without them, we would not be able to function – pandemic or not.”

He continued, “In our State of Texas, 1 out of 7 people are somehow related to the field of agriculture. So that means that 2% of the folks in our state, work on behalf of the other 98% of our people. We just want all of you to know how much we thank you, thank you, and thank you.”

Pastor Bruce Zimmerman of Waxahachie Bible Church talks with a Farm Bureau photographer about the Love Your Neighbor campaign during a free dinner hosted by the groups May 18 at Bluebonnet BBQ Restaurant.

God’s blessings, encouragement, and advice to farmers / ranchers

1. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land. - Deuteronomy 28:8

2. But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me. He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit. - Jeremiah 17:7-8

3. May God give you of heaven’s dew and of earth’s richness – an abundance of grain and new wine. - Genesis 27:28

4. The threshing places will be full of grain; the pits beside the presses will overflow with wine and olive oil. I will give you back what you lost in the years when swarms of locusts ate your crops. - Joel 2:24-25

5. I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. - Jeremiah 29:11

6. Be sure you know the conditions of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever.

7. Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. - Ecclesiastes 11:4

8. Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest. - Proverbs 20:4

9. Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. - Proverbs 21:5

10. Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another – or maybe both. - Ecclesiastes 11:6