Farming in the Time of Coronavirus

2020 coronavirus
It was game night at our house over the weekend. Evan loves math so we are working to keep his mind engaged and both he and his brothers entertained. 

Like nearly every American family and business, Sawyer Land & Cattle is feeling the effects of Coronavirus. We are a fourth-generation farm family that raised crops and cattle in Central Kansas. The virus is nearby but not in the county – yet. However, the governor has officially closed all public K-12 schools for the remainder of the school year and has asked that we limit travel outside our homes as much as possible. Many local retailers and restaurants are closed so our options outside of the home are limited.

I work for the federal government so my life has been non-stop coronavirus for a few weeks now. But this past week took it to a whole new level as the reality and impacts of the situation set in. The whole experience has been overwhelming and humbling as my colleagues and I search for ways to help community and business leaders, individuals and families impacted by this outbreak.

It’s calving season on the farm so Derek’s work goes on, pretty much as normal. Cows are still delivering calves and Derek and his father are still feeding and checking on the cows daily.

With the boys being home (this week was spring break for us so we don’t officially start our new normal until tomorrow) they have accompanied Derek to the farm nearly every day. It’s a great opportunity to get them out of the house and they always come home with a new lesson learned.

We sell hamburger and various beef products and requests for our beef have skyrocketed. I can only assume people are looking for opportunities to have as much food as possible at home. Whatever the reason, we’re happy to oblige.

What happens from here, no one knows. Like most working moms, I’m starting to agonize over balancing my work with kids and their school work. I like schedule and order and something about working and teaching at the same time, screams chaos.

My main goal is to make this a not-horrible experience for my boys. They are home from school by no choice or action of their own. Their school year was cut short and they will now be separated from classmates and friends for weeks, possibly months. I don’t want my frustration with the situation to make their days difficult. It’s my goal to have them look back on this situation as both sad (for the loss of class time and friends) but also with good feelings about all of the fun they had at home.

I pray daily for patience, understanding and wisdom. I also remind the boys that we are so very fortunate to have space to run, flexible and accommodating jobs and a network of people ready to help in any way they can. We will get through this and be stronger for it on the other side.

From here forward, the boys will spend part of their day on the farm (most days) and part of their day home with me. We have a daycare provider that we will probably also use – eventually – but because Derek and I are still interacting with the public – to a small extent – we want to protect the health of the other families who attend the daycare and have not sent our boys to her home for the past 4 days.

Derek – like all farmers – will continue raising cattle and planting crops. Agriculture is considered an essential industry by the Federal Government (duh, we all have to eat) so that gives him the ability to continue working, even if we are forced to remain at home by our state or federal government. We have heard from so many companies in the agriculture industry that was to remain open to support farmers and we appreciate their efforts.

For those worried by the empty shelves at the grocery store, please know that the food shortage is only a result of shoppers over-buying and hoarding products. There is plenty of beef, chicken, milk, bread and eggs in our country and it’s headed your way – thanks to all of the individuals and businesses that make our supply chain possible.

Going forward our family will be practicing social distancing and substantially curtailing our trips off the farm and into town. As I mom, I hope to make up for all of that quality time with my boys that I stressed over missing out on in the past. As a wife, I hope to keep the stress of the situation out of my marriage. As a farm wife, I hope to continue reassuring fellow moms and consumers that farmers and ranchers remain on the job, caring for our livestock and growing their food. I’m here to answer your questions and provide you and your children more information about our farm.

We will get through this. But everyone must do their part!

#DoYourPart #StayHome #SocialDistancing




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