Prayers to be said for farming community

The Ulster farming community is to be remembered in Presbyterian pulpits this Sunday as it copes with the aftermath of a very severe winter.

As farmers continue to face increased pressures following the above average wet winter weather, the Irish Presbyterian Moderator the Rev Dr Noble McNeely has written to ministers asking them to remember farming communities in prayer at Sunday’s church services.

In his letter, Dr McNeely says; “On travelling around the country, I have been made acutely aware of the critical situation farmers have been experiencing. The above average wet weather has been particularly prolonged and has led to grave circumstances for farmers.

“Currently, farmers are feeling pressure due to livestock difficulties and the crisis related to a resulting fodder situation. The weather over coming days will affect availability of fodder and whether the situation improves, or becomes more critical.”

Dr McNeely adds: “Having been in contact with farmers’ representatives, like the Ulster Farmers’ Church, they tell me that the prolonged period of wet weather has put major pressure on farmers.

“For example, cattle have been housed for much longer than expected, silage making last autumn was difficult and a period of low temperatures has also contributed to slow growing conditions for grass. Livestock feed bills have also increased and growth of winter crops has been affected, which has meant delay in planting spring crops.”

Presbyterian church ministers will pray specifically for the following this Sunday:

* For improved weather and the drying out of water-saturated land.

* For conditions that will improve fodder and enable sowing of spring crops.

* For farmers and families currently coping with the physical and mental demands.

* For farmers and families in our congregations to be steadfast in faith and know the assurance and enabling of the Holy Spirit.

A large number of Presbyterian congregations are rural-based, with a strong farming community input.