While so many familiar parts of our lives are being canceled, closed or put on hold in response to COVID-19, our farmers aren’t shutting down. The 2020 season is shifting into high gear, although in different stages depending on geographic location.
In the more southern cotton-growing areas, planting is almost complete or close to being there. In other places, ground preparation is underway or about to be when the fields dry out.
The farmer’s “isolation unit” is the tractor cab, and their young fans are farm kids riding shotgun or watching intently from the edge of the field.
In ripping headlines from mainstream media this mid-March morning, I see that “(Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony) Fauci urges ‘dramatic’ activity reduction” and “Walmart shortens its hours, and other retailers across America close their doors.”
In contrast, here are some posts on a popular farmers’ Facebook page:
▶ “In times like these and what we may see in the future, I’m glad and very proud to be working in an industry that is a foundation for essential life on earth.”
▶ “Deep breaking in west Texas.”
▶ “Getting going in South Carolina.”
▶ “Time to get this party started.”
▶ “Getting cotton ground ready in Dell, Arkansas.”
▶ “Gotta love some great music and perfect planting conditions.”
In sharing these uplifting comments, by no means am I downplaying the gravity of COVID-19. Where people come into contact with others in a crowd or when vulnerable members of the population are at risk of contracting a potentially life-threatening disease, it’s common sense to do what we gotta do.
My point is to thank our farmers who are doggedly pushing on to provide safe, reliable food and fiber to feed and clothe us.
The paper goods aisles in retail stores may be empty, but if you think about it, there are ways to work around that absence and survive. On the other hand, we desperately need our farmers to keep food on the shelves and cotton shirts on our backs. And from what I can tell, they are more than willing to do so despite the fact of being woefully compensated.
As one farmer posted on social media, “This is how we roll.” In this time of global crisis, I believe the spirit of the American farmer is stronger than ever, and I, for one, am grateful.