Coronavirus reminds all of the importance of agriculture

We salute the farmers and ranchers who will keep doing what they always do: caring for animals, the land and keeping our country and world fed

A farmer works around a wet area in a field north of Jamestown, N.D. in late May. John M. Steiner / Forum News Service

In many ways, the world seems to be on lockdown right now.

Schools are closed. Events are canceled. In some places, restaurants and bars are either closed or have limited hours.

But as those of us in agriculture know, even when the world is a mess, the cows still need to be fed. In some areas, the corn still needs to be combined. Planting decisions still need to be made. And, of course, people still need to eat.

The impact of COVID-19 on agriculture is something we’ve been reporting about for a few months, ever since it reared its head in China. We’ll continue to report about the pandemic and how it affects agriculture and our rural areas.

No doubt you’ve seen pictures of empty shelves and heard stories of people stocking up on food and fiber. The markets might be dropping, but it’s been years since people had a concrete reminder of what agriculture provides to them.


During this difficult time, we salute the farmers and ranchers who will keep doing what they always do: caring for animals, the land and keeping our country and world fed. We applaud the food system workers processing and packaging, the truck drivers who keep driving roads across the country to get the shelves stocked and the food, and the pharmacy workers keeping essentials available to make sure commerce doesn’t completely stop. We cheer the medical professionals who put their own lives at risk to care for others.

And we urge you to keep a level head. Yes, you should be seriously concerned. Yes, you should take every precaution. But don’t become obsessed. Don’t become so preoccupied with coronavirus that you shortchange other aspects of life.

We’ll do our best to keep you informed, like we always have. And we urge everyone to do their best to keep themselves and their families safe, even as they keep doing their jobs.

And remember, we’ll get through this. As agriculturalists, as communities, as a country — we’ll get through this. Be confident of that.

As hard as we try to keep up with how this kind of episode touches the lives of farmers and ranchers, our biggest resource is you — a reader or viewer. Please keep in mind that if you have a question that you’d like answered, others will have the same question. Please contact us at about anything you see or hear that can help alert others to head off a problem, or to calm a fear. Thank you, so much.

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