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Write Field: Where can you find hope?

David Kragnes's latest poem for Sugarbeet Grower Magazine explores the origins of hope.

A gray-blue sky is above a sugarbeet harvest scene. Untopped beets are to the right, while a strip in the center has been defoliated and is being dug. Beets are dropping into a beet cart driving on the already-harvested portion of the field. Both the digger and cart are pulled by John Deere tractors. Other equipment is obscured in the background.
Farmers understand the hope of putting seeds in the ground and hoping to harvest a crop better than others, David Kragnes says. The photo depicts the 2021 sugarbeet harvest at Bruce Nelson Farms near Barnesville, Minnesota.
Contributed / Amanda Nelson

Each spring when the first vegetable seed catalog would come in the mail box my father would say, ”The world will never run out of hope as long as Gurneys keeps printing full color seed catalogs. You can almost taste the peas.” There is something about putting seed in the ground that is a physical demonstration of the human need to have hope. As farmers we may understand this better than most. We need to share the joy that comes with having hope.

Hope, is it an antidote
Or is it more a drug?
Can it be pulled out of the air
Or from the ground be dug?

Is it only found in scripture?
Is it buried in ourselves?
Can it be found on Amazon,
Or stocked on Walmart shelves?

Can we pile it up and save it
For some gloomy rainy day?
Should we cover it in plastic
Like fresh third cutting hay?

Where do we go to find it,
Those times we are in need?
Can we order up some extra,
Like glyphosate or seed,

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Then save what is left over,
And keep it in the shed,
Till that next mental rainstorm,
Drops hail stones in our head?

No, we can’t pile hope in a shed,
Can’t hold it in a hand.
It’s either here or not here,
Like live music from a band.

So gather all the hope you have
And hold it in your heart.
That won’t be all you ever need,
It’s just a place to start.

Then plant it out there in the world,
And watch it multiply.
Plant some with your closest friends,
And strangers passing by.

It will need some hoeing
To protect from jealous weeds,
But with the sunlight of a smile,
It will produce good seeds.

Seeds of hope when spread around,
Will grow more like they should,
Then flower and bloom for harvest,
To make life sweet and good.

With unique understanding,
As farmers we have found,
You can’t make sugar out of seed,
Till you stick it in the ground.

David Kragnes recently retired from farming near Felton, Minn. He is a former board member and chairman of American Crystal Sugar Company and currently serves on the CoBank Board of Directors.

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Related Topics: SUGARBEETS
What To Read Next
The ASGA annual meeting is scheduled for Jan. 29-31 in Washington, D.C. On the agenda are the farm bill, ag labor, economic outlooks for sweeteners and more on the policies and business and sugar.