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The weather seems to have drawn a bulls-eye on Iowa this spring.

Several tornadoes hit western Iowa and high winds reaching 50 mph and heavy rains hammered the state over the weekend. A tornado damaged farms in Cass County. Heavy rainfall in parts of the state has stopped planting progress.

It was worse in Kansas, where an entire town was destroyed by a tornado and several lives were lost.

In Biblical times, such cruel twists were blamed on sin and the people’s decision to turn away from God. We have more knowledge now, but our answers as to why are only a little better.

Many scientists say that global warming is responsible for greater frequency and severity of storms. They warn that unless humans change their ways, the earth will suffer an environmental disaster not seen since the great flood of Noah’s time. Just maybe we give ourselves too much credit for having the power to do such things.

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Since the advent of the atomic age, presidents and Soviet Union leaders had the ability to turn the earth into a wasteland with the push of a nuclear button. Terrorists, we are told, seek access to nuclear weapons so as to send us to the eternal damnation they think we deserve.

We can choose to be optimists or pessimists about such things.

History tells us that optimists may have it right. After all, World War I was thought to be the beginning of the end. World War II was supposed to have been proof of it. Yet the avenging angels didn’t appear.

From the ashes of millions of lives lost, scientists brought forth marvels that prevented and cured diseases, produced millions of bushels more crops and in general made our lives so much better than the generations before.

Knowledge, it is said, may be God’s greatest gift. It is up to us to use it for good or evil. Our choices aren’t always the best, even if our intentions are.

Spring brings with it bountiful hope. Tiny corn plants — brittle and yellow — break through the chilly ground. Soon enough they will be strong stalks, with ears heavy with grain.

Lush alfalfa fields are deep green as they reach for the sun. Beef calves kick and dance in the spring pasture, being careful not to stray too far from their mothers’ sides.

A billion little miracles scattered across the countryside for us to appreciate — if we slow down enough to notice and take note.

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We plant knowing that harvest will come. The storms that hit are tragic, but they spark determination.

It is the same the world over. The African farmer who plants seed in rocky and dusty ground hoping that he can feed his family for another year, shares the same dream as ours. The ground unites us.

Blood, sweat and tears have been spilled to protect it. At the end of life, we return to it, knowing like the corn seed we too will someday grow from the ground and reach to the heavens.

The Kansas town — without a single building standing unscathed – will be rebuilt. Such is our nature.

Mychal Wilmes is managing editor of Agri News

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