Farming for a Greater Purpose
Waking up before dawn, tending to animals, learning by trial and error, feeding America straight from the heartland – farmers are the backbone of this country. Often underappreciated warriors, farmers fight the elements, work incredibly hard and would still likely give the shirt off their back to anyone in need.
Matt Muller is one of those farmers. A fourth generation farmer located in Altus, Matt and his brothers learned at a young age the value of hard work on the farm with their father. Some of his favorite memories from childhood include traveling to farm shows with his dad and meeting other farmers around the country.
After acquiring his own land as he got older, Matt and his wife, Kellie, along with their four children, work their land together each year. Matt explains the importance of not putting all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. He says, “We believe in diversification.” They harvest cotton, wheat, grain sorghum, sesame, canola, peanuts, mung beans, corn, soybeans, grass hay, oats and rye. “It’s hectic getting everything planted and harvested.”
Matt confesses it’s difficult to challenge the thinking of America when it comes to the importance and education about the food we eat. Matt adds, “Most Americans have no idea what it takes agronomically, economically and practically to sustainably grow food year after year on a farm. If anybody believes in sustainability it’s me and my neighbors.” The Mullers and neighbors are very concerned about the products they use, being environmentally friendly and careful not to pollute local water supplies. “I always have an open door policy and want to engage the public. People should want to know the quality of food they put on their table. The best way to educate is to show them what it takes, invite them out to the farm and strike up a real conversation while they ask questions and genuinely want to learn.”
“I believe we are called to share our blessings with others.”
Despite the incredible amount of energy and hours he and his family put into their farm, the Mullers have made it their mission to use their farm to glorify God and still find ways to give back to those around them. As members of Martha Road Baptist Church, the Muller family first learned of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) through their church’s involvement. Their first initial step was hosting a joint birthday party on the farm for his daughter and their pastor. Together, they decided to have a fundraiser to support Baptist Home for Girls in Madill. After that experience, he learned of OBHC’s 10-Acre Challenge, an invitation to all farmers to donate 10 acres worth of crop production to support the ministry of OBHC. Donations are coordinated through their local co-op. Farmers then challenge one another to do the same, increasing the impact their gifts will make for children and families in need.
Matt doesn’t think twice about donating a portion of his crop to help others. “This makes a direct impact on lives.” Others may be hesitant to work so hard just to give it away, but the way Matt sees it, it’s first and foremost the Lord’s harvest. “There’s a lot of things I can spend money on, whether it be equipment, fertilizer or the latest seed genetics, but I can’t make it rain—only God can provide the rain. If He’s going to bless me and take care of all my other acres, it’s a very small thing to be able to give back some of the blessings He gives me.” Matt understands a season of plenty or a season of little comes from God alone. “I believe we are called to share our blessings with others. I think about the Old Testament where the Hebrews allowed those less fortunate to glean in their fields. Although we don’t have a system like that in our society today, it’s a way for me to kind of carry that on by using our fields to support those less fortunate.”
Each summer, children from one of OBHC’s four campuses have an opportunity to visit farmers during the harvest. Girls from Baptist Home for Girls in Madill recently visited the Muller farm for a learning opportunity of their own. Matt says, “We appreciate how active OBHC campuses are involved in agricultural programs as they instill and expose children to strong values.” During their visit, Matt and Kellie taught the girls about the planting and harvesting process while providing a hands-on experience. They loved being able to teach the girls and expose them to the work of farm life.
Matt’s challenge for other farmers is to invest in the eternal benefit their gift will make. “Your gift goes directly to help raise up children in a positive setting in a day and age where families are falling apart, which is causing so many societal problems. OBHC offers hope and is able to intervene in the lives of children. Growing and raising children up is much more important to me than growing crops. Ten acres out of a farm as a whole isn’t much, but if many farmers participate, it will help a lot of children.”
by Heather Clark, Communications Strategist