Home 5 Ag Stories Farmers don’t need to be told they are essential; they know

Farmers don’t need to be told they are essential; they know

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When you woke up this morning, did somebody need to remind you that your job was essential? I didn’t think so.

Quarantining. Social Distancing. Sheltering in place. Whatever we are calling it these days, it has become the focus of some interesting discussions. Many farm broadcasters and local radio stations have had to join the rest of the nine to fivers in finding a way to do their jobs at home. However, the stakes aren’t the same for the American farmer. There is no sheltering, no quarantining, and you certainly cannot take care of your livestock from a laptop on a card table in your basement. Business must be as usual for our farmers and ranchers, but even that may be a challenge.

Audio: Profit Matters 3-23-20

I, for one, salute you and respect the hard work producers do every day. I may not be actively farming anymore, but I grew up there. My family still does it. I know the value of a routine to the work. You must have your inputs there because there is no alternative. The feed still must be available, whether you have it delivered or still grind it yourself. The veterinarian has to be available at a moment’s notice, and you need to be able to get your implement parts when you need them.

It isn’t just livestock producers that are going to be affected by this situation. However, they are the ones feeling the most immediate effects. Soon, Mother Nature will fire the starter’s pistol on the 2020 growing season. That short window in which you all work hard to get this year’s bounty into the ground. You cannot quarantine and do it later. You cannot move a tractor cab into the living room and work from the house. It doesn’t work that way. You will still have to go into those fields when the time is right.

I have seen posts on Facebook. Those farmers who have shown pictures of the lists of “essential industries” who get a pass from the government to keep working during this time, but Farmers aren’t always listed.

Screen capture and edited post by Kelly Griggs

Sometimes you may fall into the trap of feeling like the world doesn’t feel your essential. I am here to tell you that you are. Maybe you feel taken for granted, and that is our fault. But it isn’t because you aren’t appreciated. It is because we know that we can depend on the American farmers day in and day out. That they are working to provide us a safe and reliable food source 365 days of the year. Okay, 366 this year. We know that farmers are here, and they are the stability and normalcy we can depend on, even while food flies off the shelves because of people who still haven’t figured out that we don’t have to hoard.

So, what happens for farmers through all this. Many of the services we depend on are in towns and cities across the country. Well, the federal government did indeed make a point to label agriculture as an essential industry. They made it official, even though there isn’t a farmer out there that was waiting for their permission to keep working. You are going to have to check with your local feed suppliers and veterinarians, to find out what their policies are. Some may be slightly modified or may do things a bit out of the realm of what is normal, but they are still doing all they can. Some implement dealers are asking to do phone ordering of parts so they can deliver. Of course, check local listings. It may be inconvenient, but they are just trying to keep you, themselves, and your respective families safe by limiting exposure.

What has truly made me smile are their farmers who are more concerned about the other “essential industries” that also were left off these mainstream media lists. They want the world to know that there are others out there who everyone must depend upon. They are saluting those other essential people who may feel overlooked.

So to the American farmers, electricians, garbage collectors, plumbers, utility workers, daycare providers, first-responders, veterinarians, truckers, medical teams, and even some of those government officials who are trying hard to keep the populace calm when people all around them are losing their minds; I salute you. Thank you. You are essential whether we remember to tell you or not. You are the people who don’t need validation that your work is important. You wouldn’t have stopped even if you were told to, because stopping isn’t an option. God bless you, one and all.

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