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Ag News

Could thinking like a farmer help with managing COVID19??

  • By: "Prime" Ag News
  • Mar 30, 2020

By Simon Knowles

There is a great deal of unrest, change, discomfort and in some cases, heartache that’s occurred with the COVID19 virus. There are many news articles offering advice, local & global news and often sensational view points from many perspectives. I personally have found it challenging to keep a clear head and have peace and clarity on what I should or shouldn’t be doing with decisions beyond personal space and hygiene measures. Despite all this mess and uncertainty, I have found a common group of people who don’t appear to have lost their clarity and outlook – FARMERS (a.k.a. growers, horticulturalists, primary producers).

You see, farmers deal with this kind of crisis all the time. Success in their livelihood depends upon it. The majority have suffered through crushing income losses too and know there’s hope beyond. Farmers cop it from so many fronts. Gall wasps, fruit fly, mildew, mealy bugs, canker, aphids, botrytis and phylloxera, – and these are only a few of the pests and diseases that impact horticulture that come to mind. Thinking about weather: drought, frost, hail, harvest time rain, wind and heat. Then we have external challenges such as changing commodity prices, machinery maintenance, freight logistics, contract negotiations and bureaucratic demands. I conclude that many farmers could see this COVID19 pandemic as just another pest to manage. What can we learn from their perspective?

How to think and act like a farmer

  • Learn about the risk. Compare your research with information provided by reputable authorities;
  • Be clear about things that you can control and things you can’t. Focus on what you can to do to manage the risk that you can control;
  • Filter and block out any information that isn’t helpful (conspiracy theories, non factual social media, negativity, scaremongering, agenda driven fake news). Farmers are too busy to worry about all this rubbish; they know it can’t help them.
  • Test your practical management strategies for your situation with peers you respect;
  • Commit to implementing your strategy; and –
  • Stay in tune with latest facts and information to help manage your risk and adjust your strategy as needed.
  • Keep blocking and filtering out the rubbish. Don’t be tempted to get caught up to spread any of it around too.
  • Keep smiling! I never cease to admire the many farmers that look forward with optimism, are alert and responsive to all the challenges they face and yet are still so generous with their time invested in others – often with a smile on their face.

Farmers and horticulturalists I work with inspire me and I love working to serve them in my local horticulture industry. By smiling, being clear minded and positive, you can inspire others too.