By Jennifer Dorsett

Faith. Hope. Love.

We see this phrase adorning home décor and social media posts so often that it’s almost become a cliché.

But we need a little faith, hope and love this year.

2020 has been rough. The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes to the average American lifestyle.

Families struggle to isolate at home while still maintaining some semblance of a normal working and learning schedule. For the first time in many of our lifetimes, grocery store shelves were bare, and some groceries and consumer goods were severely limited.

Across the nation, jobs disappeared overnight as restaurants and retailers shuttered—some temporarily, some for good.

And like everyone else, farmers and ranchers have felt the pandemic pinch.

What was supposed to be a better year for many crops has instead been lackluster, tinged with disappointment and despair for far too many. Livestock supply chains were stretched to the limit, with ranchers bearing the brunt of accompanying price disruptions.

Mother Nature hasn’t helped. She’s been especially difficult this year, dispersing drought, derechos and hurricanes across the U.S.

In short: 2020 has not been kind. But these three remain: Faith, hope and love.

And farmers and ranchers can show us how to live by those words.

There’s an adage about planting a seed being an act of faith. The saying has stuck around so long because it’s true.

Farmers plant a seed every year not knowing what that year will bring. Wildfire, drought, flood, freeze? Any one of these natural disasters can wipe out months of work in a matter of hours.

Or it may turn out to be a year with plentiful rains, just the right weather and bumper yields. One just never knows.

But farmers have faith in their land. And in themselves.

And there’s nothing like the hope inspired by a field full of newly-sprouted plants or the promise of a newborn calf pulling itself onto its wobbly legs for the first time.

Hope is found in the greenness of spring, the smell of rain quenching parched summer ground or in ripe, full heads of wheat at harvest.

Hope springs eternal, and farmers and ranchers are eternal optimists.

But what is a farm or ranch without love? Farming and ranching is more than just passion—it’s an all-encompassing love that stretches beyond all sense and all knowing. 

Farming and ranching is a love for your neighbors and the communities who support you. It’s a love of the rural lifestyle and its accompanying trials and rewards.

To everything there is a season, and right now is just a particularly crummy one for many farmers and ranchers. But another season will come.

The pandemic will pass. Prices for crops and livestock will rise. Farmers will take the tractor another round, and ranchers will raise another fine set of animals.

But in the meantime, these three remain: Faith, hope and love.