Editor's Note: Agri-Pulse and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs are teaming up to host a monthly column to explore how the US agriculture and food sector can maintain its competitive edge and advance food security in an increasingly integrated and dynamic world.
The farmer fell to his knees, landing hard on the barren soil, and raised his arms to heaven. “God, have mercy on us,” he prayed, opening his palms to embrace his forlorn field.
The supplication of a farmer in the American Midwest this summer? Certainly many farmers sent prayers heavenward during the relentless spring rains that foiled so many planting efforts, leaving vast stretches of fields empty of crops this summer.
But this particular prayer came from a farmer in Kenya, Francis Wanjala Mamati, who faced not a deluge but a drought. The image of Francis on his knees, under a scorching sun that pushed the temperature toward 100 degrees Fahrenheit, comes to my mind during every extreme weather condition that threatens to destroy a growing season--no matter where it may be. As does what Francis said next as he slowly rose to his feet, grabbed his hoe, and began to strike the earth: