Farmers have long been considered the backbone of American society, dating all the way back to the birth of the United States in the 18th century. Providing the food and fiber the rest of the world utilizes in their daily lives. This often comes with long hours and little thanks, yet they press on. Many farmers contribute this to a passion and faith in something bigger.
“I see myself as a steward of God’s creation, not just what I can do to maximize what I get from it,” said Jeremy Brown, a regenerative farmer from Brownfield, Texas.
Brown, along with his wife, Sarah, were inspired and challenged to adapt their farming practices after studying a passage from the Bible in the Book of Matthew.
“One day, the Bible just really challenged me on my understanding of what soil health was,” Brown said. “I was reading the parable of the sower and just had this aha moment. I felt like the Holy Spirit just asked, ‘What is good soil?’ and all I knew was what I learned in college.”
Brown interpreted the passage, Matthew 13:1-23, as a call to focus on soil health, which in turn jumpstarted their journey pursuing regenerative and organic farming. He returned to farming after a 10 year hiatus, which included working in the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ deans’ office.
Brown’s faith guided him to take a deeper look at how the quality and health of the soil not only affects his bottom line, but how he could combat the moisture and soil loss from the High Plain’s climate.
“That really began to challenge me, where I just dove deep into the soil health regenerative movement,” Brown said. “Our area is tough with the dry climate that we have, but we try to practice as many soil health regenerative practices as possible.”
Brown said he also has to be mindful about water, a precious resource.
“For every 1% of organic matter, the water holding capacity of your soil increases,” Brown said. “So, the challenge we have in West Texas is either if you are applying water or if it’s just blowing away.”
The Browns’ company name, Broadview Agriculture, Inc., was inspired by scripture as well.
“Sarah is the one that read a scripture in the Bible that said, ‘And the land will be broad.’ And it just kind of fits with our area,” Brown said.
Brown recalls a time when he leaned on his faith to make the right call. In 2022, one of the driest years the region has seen since 2011, Brown had to decide if he was going to order seed to plant his cover crop, with no rain in the forecast and certainly no rain on the ground so far that summer.
“It hadn’t rained,” Brown said. “I hoped it was going to rain. And in 2021, I planted all that cover crop, and none of it came up, because it quit raining in August. And so that’s where we lean on our faith. And we prayed. We asked God, we felt like he said, ‘move forward’ so we bought the seed.”
Brown’s feeling of needing to plant quickly proved successful after receiving four inches of rain a few days after planting.
“And it’s so fun to see,” Brown said. “Does it always work out that way? No, but you have to take a step. You have to believe in what you’re doing.”
Brown keeps his faith in farming and continues to be excited about the future of regenerative agriculture.