We have each other, and that’s all we need
COVID-19 means changes for farmers and for rural businesses.
I don’t know where to start this time, but it’s as important to start and keep moving forward as ever in these times.
This isn’t going to be a typical farming update. Quarantine, social distancing, coronavirus, COVID-19, unemployment, online education, are just a few of the words we are using in our homes and hearing in the headlines and news reports.
People involved in agriculture are accustomed to challenges, but when we come home now is the main difference. Spouses and kids are an awesome distraction from farming challenges; however, the challenge continues at home. Kids are now being educated in the home along with the help of parents who have become the teacher in many situations. Teachers have been asked to quickly change the way their curriculum is taught. Many of those teachers have their own kids at home who are probably pulling on their shirt sleeves asking for additional help from Mom or Dad, rather than being viewed as a teacher.
All of us willingly or reluctantly are learning how to use Zoom or different group meeting apps to socialize and to run local levels of government. If we didn’t think the farming household was pushed to the limit with all of that, then we add on the unemployment line and small business loans.
One personal story away from agriculture is my wife Samantha and her business. In agriculture, we all know the seed and chemical manufacturer sales reps. Sam has that role in the beauty industry. She travels from Rugby, N.D., to Bemidji, Minn., down to Carrington, N.D., and Harvey, N.D., stopping at hair salons along the way. Her company supplies everything to these small businesses. Supplies, tools, equipment, retail products and education have all come to an abrupt halt. Minnesota salons closed two weeks ago, and North Dakota has recently followed that. Some of those salons are owned by farmers' wives. Like many other small businesses, their cash flow has stopped, and it has stopped for all of those involved, my wife included.
Huso Crop Consulting is renting an office space along Main Street in Lakota, N.D., as we have outgrown my original home office. Main Street is quiet, really quiet. The hardware store is still open, the two bar-restaurants have drive-thrus and are doing with take-out meals. The pharmacy will bring your package out; you just need to honk your horn.
These small businesses are so critical to Lakota, and it’s the same for every other small town in the Midwest. I certainly hope they receive the small business assistance loans and unemployment for their employees when if it comes to that.
Our business hasn’t had to change to much from normal business practices. The majority of the farm plans are laid out. We are utilizing email and Dropbox to share information with farmers.
Last week, I had to meet a farmer in Fordville, N.D., and he had chairs set up in his garage 8 feet apart as we wanted to meet but not go into the house with the kids. We are practicing social distancing and trying to control it.
When we hit the field in two or three weeks, it won’t be as easy to practice it as we all know when planting hits it hits quickly and full throttle. Regardless, we will have to be respectful of COVID-19 and do our best to keep each other safe and healthy when loading fertilizer prescriptions, checking seed depths and populations, and providing our reports.
We have to rely on each other to beat this COVID-19 situation and as always each other is all we need.