COVID the defining challenge of our times

By Tim Kalinowski, Signing off as Editor of Ag-Matters


Well, there’s no sugar-coating it. The challenges toward agriculture in this country keep piling up. It’s tough to get motivated to get out in the fields this spring. That sense of optimism just isn’t there like it usually is when the warm days start to come, and the sun rises a bit earlier every morning.

It’s tough out there, and even more importantly it’s tough in here: Here inside your head.

But, you know what, what else are you going to do? You got to get up every morning. You got to go feed the animals. You got to jump in the pick-up and head into town for parts. You have to brave the line-ups, the anxiety, and the frustrations when your supplier says your order will be here next Tuesday instead of Friday.

And despite just “not feeling it,” you got to head out there and start changing oil, belts and chains in them machines as you ready yourself for the field.

By the time you head in for noon coffee, you may even have been able to forget awhile about the pressure, the worries and the government BS when you have to fill out a 10-page essay just to apply for some simple farm relief–a little bit of money to see you through; that’s all you’re asking. A bit of help to start you off, and maybe you could take it from there.

You know if you could just get that seed in the ground everything might be different, and you could feel some pride and hope again when your fields start to grow and your animals head out to pasture and begin to fatten.

In tough times in the past, you always thought back to what your daddy did, and grandaddy, and all the the terrible things they had to go through from market downturns, to weather wrecks, to wars.

“They came through them challenges,” you would say to yourself when BSE closed your markets, when drought dried out your fields, when the Chinese or Saudis or Americans decided to be a**holes about everything, and when pinheads decided to protest and close down your rail-lines for reasons you couldn’t even understand.

“They came through the stuff,” you would say, “worse stuff than me. This is nothing.”

And that thought would motivate you to claw your way out of bed in the morning, put your boots on, and get back up in that saddle to face down what needed to be faced.

Then this COVID thing came. Daddy never came through anything like this. Not all at once, and at the same time, at any rate. How will I get through it?

There are no simple answers. No easy words of comfort that can be offered from a scribbler like me who is paid to turn out the pages week after week.

The only way to get through this is to get through this. The only safety is on the other side.

And if you are one to take comfort in words, then let me say this:

In the heart of the farmer beats the heart of the land. Your sinews are Mother Nature’s bones. Your pulse is the rhythm of morning sunrises. Your dreams are of the Prairie night. Your muscles are of the horse which runs beneath you, those of steel and those of flesh. Your eyes are the vast horizon and the unending vista of the Prairie sky. You were built up from the bedrock beneath your feet layer upon layer to become the person you are today.

I know you can come through this, and you will.

We will all come through this. Farmers, writers, grocery store clerks, nurses, teachers, cattle feeders, transport truck drivers, meat cutters, we will all come through this. And, no doubt, the dreamers, madmen, and prophets will too.

Also, sadly, the protesters, the politicians and the lawyers. But, hey, what are you gonna do? Even the asses were once let on the Ark alongside the horses, lions and camels, right?

We wish no ill to anybody, and pray for the recovery of all who are suffering with this horrible disease.

God bless. And be well.

CP Photo by Paul Chaisson
The New Normal. Farmers are dealing with something unprecedented in our lifetimes, but we still have to struggle to find a way through, says our outgoing Ag-Matters Editor Tim Kalinowski.