In a message from American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, he stated, “Empty shelves can be frightening, but empty fields and barns would be devastating.”
I’m not sure anything could have been said that hits home quite like that. The last three weeks have been filled with information overload, fear, panic and uncertainty for many.
As people flocked to grocery stores to stock up on necessities, shelves began emptying, online shopping was almost impossible and people were panicking. Suddenly, people weren’t as concerned about labels and claims — they were concerned about supply and availability.
The good news is farmers are still farming and will continue to fill grocery store shelves with safe and affordable food.
But the bad news is, we as consumers need to recognize we play an important role in making sure those shelves continue to be filled. We need to follow orders and we need to stay at home. Every time someone leaves their home, visits family and friends who they don’t share a house with, or goes out shopping for nonessentials, you are putting essential workers at risk.
Employers in the ag and food industry can’t continue business as usual either, even though they are considered essential. Proactive measures need to be in place to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements where possible.
Agriculture was deemed critical infrastructure by Homeland Security for good reason, but in order to continue producing, processing, shipping and stocking the shelves, those essential agricultural employees need to be healthy.
There is no shortage of food but once the people who get our food from farm to table begin contracting COVID-19, that could affect the supply of food available to you. Processing facilities in other parts of the U.S have already been impacted. We all have to realize our daily decisions impact the spread of this virus.
It’s easy to get stir-crazy, but take the time to enjoy the extra time with your spouse/significant other, your kiddos, your pet or even yourself. Savor the slow down of life. I know in my house, I feel like after working there is rarely enough time spent with my family.
Get outside (as long as you are still maintaining social distance with others) and get some fresh air. Work on that project you’ve been putting off (unless you have to go out to buy everything for said project).
Pull those weeds that are growing… well, like weeds. Plant the seeds for your summer garden. Try to make the best out of a very unfortunate situation.
I am fortunate enough to have a job that has capabilities to work from the safety of my home, but I know that many people don’t have that luxury, many people that I care about. So be safe out there, take care of yourselves, and thank you!
Farm Bureau is monitoring COVID-19 developments as they happen and will provide member updates frequently. We are continuing to advocate for the continued operation of the ag and food system in Ohio. Contact us at 440-426-2195 if you have any concerns of which we need to be aware.
Submitted by Mandy Orahood , an Ohio Farm Bureau organization director serving Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties. She can be reached by email.
OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.