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Faith is important for Oklahoma farm family that has endured death, drought

Neither the cancer that claimed her husband's life nor the ongoing battle with drought can shake the faith of Karen Krehbiel, of Hydro, Oklahoma.
BY BRYAN PAINTER Published: June 30, 2013
/articleid/3857310/1/pictures/2146011">Photo - Jeff, Karen and Brittany Krehbiel are shown in a wheat field in 2005.  Jeff battled brain cancer and died in 2011.
 <strong>Photo Provided - THE OKLAHOMAN, Archives</strong>
Jeff, Karen and Brittany Krehbiel are shown in a wheat field in 2005. Jeff battled brain cancer and died in 2011. Photo Provided - THE OKLAHOMAN, Archives

“When we put the crop in the ground, you just give it back to God,” she said. “And if there's something there to harvest, you take it. You go harvest it.

“This crop seems to be OK, but to be honest, I have not put the pencil to it yet.”

In addition to the farm businesses and responsibilities as an accountant, Karen gives of her time to the agriculture industry, as a new member of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry's board of directors, representing 20 counties, mostly in southwest Oklahoma.

She also has been active for some time with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and others.

“Karen has demonstrated strong leadership skills as a Farm Bureau leader,” Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling said. “She is personable and a great communicator.”

Jeff Krehbiel was a member of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, a past chairman of the wheat commission, and also a past president of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association. He served the National Association of Wheat Growers on their Farm Policy Committee. He had also been a member of Class IX of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program and Karen was a member of Class X.

‘ ... this peace ...'

Karen can look out a window of their farmhouse and see the cemetery where Jeff was buried on what would have been his 48th birthday.

But she has a peace.

During his illness, often in the morning she'd wake up with an old hymn on her mind.

“I had this resource that I was able to draw on that just gave us peace whether he lived or died,” she said. “There was still turmoil. It wasn't like because of our faith everything was rosy agriculturally. We're still exposed to that same drought. It's not like our land miraculously got rain and everybody else didn't. We're a part of that drought too. But we just have this peace that this is all temporary and you're able to face whatever comes.

“And there's this contentment that I will see Jeff again. This is not the end.”


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