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Viatorian Associates Caring for Creation

June 17, 2019

Associates Mike and Susan Bourgeois, and Dave and Susan

Associate Dave Surprenant and some of the Holstein heifers he and his family raise.

Surprenant are part of a legion of Illinois farmers — who combine to be the nation’s second largest producer of corn — dealing with the effects of an unseasonably wet spring.

Just two weeks ago, Associate Dave Surprenant — who with his wife and sons farms 435 acres in Kankakee County — finished planting corn, approximately 40 days later than normal, he says.

“As farmers, Susan and I know that everything comes from God,” says Dave, who also maintain 160 acres of pasture for 100 head of black angus beef cows and calves along with Holstein heifers and steers.

Associates Susan and David Surprenant are active in ministries at St. George Parish in Bourbonnais.

“We sometimes think that we are in control, but then through faith and the love of Christ, we learn to turn fears and worries over to him,” he adds. “That is especially true in trying years like this one.”

Yet, he and his family witness signs of God’s creation all around them, every day.

“The calves are born, the seed is planted,” Dave says, “the bountiful harvests over the years, our family and friends are all signs of God’s love for us.”

Associate Mike Bourgeois grew up on the farm he and his wife now

Associate Mike Bourgeois helps his grandchildren climb up for a ride on his combine.

own. At one time, they farmed 1,900 acres in Kankakee and Iroquois counties, but they now farm 950 acres of corn and soybeans, of which approximately half is sharecropped with absentee landowners.

Associates Susan and Michael Bourgeois

“It has been a nightmare to watch this spring and the torrential rain, at a time when the soil is freshly planted, and watch topsoil and valuable fertilizer wash away,” Mike says, “but we know God is in charge.

“I don’t feel what I do is extraordinary, but I realize that only 1-2 percent of the population in this country is involved in farming as a full-time occupation,” he adds. “So I feel what I do helps keep this country’s cost of food to be the lowest in most of the world.”