The Best Way for Your Advent Agriculture
What you are reading is the first attempt and as such an imperfect one. I hope that in time others will be drawn into this project and their contributions will strengthen and augment my feeble efforts. I am just one man, but a man with a dream. This dream will be revealed to you as you read this newsletter over the next several issues.
I only ask that you take time out from your busy lives to actually read it. I am sure you will learn something new from each and every issue. I would also love to receive your comments and suggestions, if not your contributions, in the form of articles and information.
The question begs to be asked, “Why a newsletter about Adventist Agriculture should be written?” Here are just a few reasons I can think of:
Adventists are involved in agriculture. This newsletter is dedicated to being a source of pride and inspiration to these agrarian SDAs.
Adventists involved in agriculture are thinly scattered throughout the church and do not have a common identity. This newsletter can help these folks network with each other so they can feel a common bond with others of like interests.
Agriculture is largely ignored by most Americans, and the average SDA is no exception. This newsletter can help non-agrarian Adventists become better acquainted with their agrarian brothers and sisters in Christ.
Agriculture is good and even necessary for the soul on a most basic, spiritual level. This newsletter will highlight and promote the spiritual benefits that agriculture can provide. Special emphasis will be placed on the benefits of agriculture in our SDA schools.
The term “agriculture” will be used a lot in a newsletter such as this, so I should define what I am referring to.
For many of you, it might conjure up mental images of an old man in overalls and a straw hat, giving hay to a cow with a pitchfork. You know, an Old McDonald stereotype. After his day at work, he sits by the fireplace and plays his banjo. This is only a very narrow portion of what agriculture is all about and is, for the most part, a scene from a bygone age.
The modern-day “Old McDonald” is more likely to be young and wearing Levi jeans and a baseball cap advertising some make of tractor or agrochemical company. Instead of a pitchfork, he will be using the hydraulic lifts on a tractor to place round bales in a feedlot. Instead of it being a man it could easily be a woman. In the evenings he is more apt to be found sitting at a computer, surfing the web for information concerning his area of farming or doing his books.
Webster says agriculture is, “the science and art of farming; the work of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock”. In this newsletter, you will learn about all this and much more. Agriculture is a way of life. Agriculture is spiritually therapeutic. Agriculture is at the very core of the human soul and the human experience.
So here it is. I pray your life will be enriched because of this newsletter, Advent Agriculture. May the Lord richly bless all your agricultural efforts for Him!
The SDA Church and Agriculture
After reading this section’s title, you might be thinking, “I didn’t know that the SDA church was involved in agriculture.” Truth is it isn’t. I have been collecting information on this topic for a long time, and I am not enjoying what I am finding. It seems we are currently doing very little in this area. I have found a considerable amount of history regarding our church’s past agricultural projects.
In the time of my generation’s academy and college days, and especially in the days of my parents, almost every SDA boarding school and college had a school farm. Dairy farming was popular and contributed much to the well-being of many SDA schools.
Laurelwood Adventist Academy, (Oregon Conference), once had a thriving school farm. The farm was closed back in the 70s. Today Laurelwood Academy is no more.
The late great Sandia View Adventist Academy, (Texaco Conference), once had a school farm. When I visited there during the school’s last year of operation, (1994), the old milk house was still standing, but much of the farmland had been sold off. New family homes were sprouting up where cows once grazed. The school still had about 20 acres of apples, but they
Had been badly neglected and were of no commercial value
I visited Walla Walla College a couple of years ago and went out to the college farm. I had once worked there when I was a college student and was saddened at what I found. The whole operation was shut down. It reminded me of a ghost town. The glory once there was gone.
It had once been the home of prize-winning Holsteins under Bill Koenig’s excellent leadership. As I walked around the silent buildings, I thought back to a certain night in the 1970s, when, as a student, I had gone to the farm to get my head cleared out. College was tough. I was struggling with decisions and my dorm room was just too small. An hour out on the farm was a Godsend. I wonder; where do WWC students go now?
These are just a few of the many examples of how the SDA church and the vital educational and medical institutions it operates, have chosen to leave agriculture behind and pursue a different course. It is my opinion that this course of action has been wrong! In future issues, I will discuss why I believe this way.