March 23, 2020
Working remotely comes naturally to farmers and ranchers. Remote is what they do and for many the opportunity to work without a lot of people around and away from the traffic and the noise of cities and towns is reason enough to love their jobs.
And while many of us are hunkered down in home offices, part of a skeleton crew at our usual workplace or dealing with schedules that change by the minute, they are busy preparing land, caring for livestock and planting the food and fiber crops that we still require.
Their businesses will be hampered as they look for equipment, seed and other crop inputs that may be in short supply as American industry grinds to a near halt in the wake of COVID-19.
As we continue our lives, isolated, or at least with limitations we would not have dreamed of two months ago, we continue to need a constant supply of food. So, think about where the ingredients in the pizza someone delivered to your door last night came from. Consider that someone on a farm or ranch is still at work growing vegetables, grains, fruits and livestock to feed the rest of us.
Understand that life goes on in rural America as many of us self-isolate or abide by government recommendations that we practice social distancing for our own and our neighbors' protection.
At Farm Press, we will continue to do our best to provide information to farmers and ranchers over these however many weeks of limited social access.
Most of us are working from home offices. Travel will be limited.
I've worked remotely for most of my 40-plus year career with Farm Press, so I am accustomed to working on my own and am probably more efficient without an office full of people to chat with. My colleagues are more efficient, too, I suspect, without me to bother them.
I will miss one-on-one interactions with farmers, researchers and Extension specialists during this unprecedented threat. I am staying put, since I am considered among the most vulnerable.
In the meantime, I will reach out — by phone and email — to check on planting progress, how you are coping with these challenges, and asking how we can help provide the information you need.
I'll touch base with Extension folk, crop consultants and other agencies to keep information flowing. I'll take as little of your time as possible to let you get back to work.
I encourage you to reach out to us, as you have time. Let us know how you're coping with this pandemic. What challenges are you facing and how are you dealing with them?
I likely will check in with some of you to make sure you're okay. I'm sure, too, that my farm writer colleagues share my sentiments: thank you and please stay safe.
About the Author(s)
Editor, Farm Progress
Ron Smith has spent more than 30 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Denton, Texas. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and two grandsons, Aaron and Hunter.
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