Times are tough, but envision the bounty to come

We have faced hardships before and continued to carry on.

Katie_headshot2019 (6).jpg
Katie Pinke, Agweek Publisher

You’re mourning. Grieving. Lonely. Exhausted. Or maybe just wondering when your “normal” will return.

I don’t know what you’re facing, but we’re all dealing with the reality that spring isn’t going to go as planned. You’ve lost a season, a routine, structure, possibly a job, an income and the list goes on and varies for each of us. Will you resume what has been postponed? When and how?

The agriculture industry has taught me to keep my head down, do the next thing and get work done. Even in the midst of unknown tomorrows, we can still do what needs to be done today.

It is important to acknowledge what we’re missing and the hardships resulting from COVID-19.

While not a health crisis or pandemic, the first time I remember facing a hardship, missing milestones and thinking this was the worst situation ever was in mid-April 1997. I stood in a sandbagging line on top of the Lincoln Park dike in Grand Forks, N.D., my back against the swelling Red River. My neighborhood, my former elementary school and my classmates’ homes were down from the earthen dike. Shoulder to shoulder, my classmates and I, along with other volunteers, fought to save life as we knew it.


The sirens rang – followed by the directive: “Go home! The dike is breaching!”

We went to our nearest friend’s house and hauled her basement bedroom belongings upstairs. Little did we know, floodwaters would cover all the houses in the neighborhood in the next 24 hours.

In the coming days, I would see families evacuating and an entire community swallowed up by spring floodwaters. While a natural disaster is not a global health pandemic, the flood of 1997 was my first real understanding of hardship. My parents faced financial losses. I had to visit a Salvation Army relief center for supplies and I had to navigate the unknown future as an 18-year-old.

You’ve faced hardship before — and together, we can face this pandemic. After acknowledging the hardship we’re all facing, we need to look ahead, with a plan, a goal or even something seemingly minor to look forward to in 2020.

Our spring calendar is blank, other than my daughters taking piano lessons on Mondays via Zoom. For my own well-being, I need something to look ahead to in the next month, in the summer and even fall 2020.

When the world feels like it is being swallowed up by a pandemic, like I felt 23 years ago when the floodwaters mounted, I close my eyes and envision lush, bountiful farm fields.

You don’t have to be from rural America or a farmer preparing their fields to experience the excitement amidst uncertainty and dream of the bounty to come.

Rest assured America’s farmers and ranchers are at work. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting market prices, employee dynamics, availability of supplies and more but farmers and ranchers will keep going.


With warmer temperatures and a slight breeze in the air, farmers will place seeds in the ground in the coming months. Those seeds will set roots, sprout and reach upward and outward to blanket the field.

More so than ever, I’m looking forward to summer drives to find a blooming field of sunflowers, flax or canola. I can picture the ripening wheat and barley fields in all their golden glory tucked among the corn and soybean fields green with potential. I’ll roll down my window for the sweet smell of a fresh cut of alfalfa. And there’s nothing quite like cows grazing across a pasture’s expanse while their calves kick up their heels in freedom.

There is very little I can control around me. My thoughts are one. For now, I look ahead and dream of rural America’s bright delivery of crops in 2020.

Pinke is the publisher and general manager of Agweek. She can be reached at, or connect with her on Twitter @katpinke.

What To Read Next
Get Local