March 26, 2020

Lessons in resilience during National Ag Week

By Laura Bardot

This week, March 22-28, we celebrate National Ag Week, a time of recognition and appreciation for the people who produce our food. From ranchers tending calves in the pasture and farmers getting planters ready for the fields, this time of year represents endless possibility in the agriculture world. As we all know, National Ag Week in 2020 looks quite different with the reality of COVID-19 bringing new challenges for people in the U.S. and across the world, farmers included.

The agriculture industry is no stranger to struggle. Historic floods wipe out crops, markets surge and crash, combines break down during the middle of harvest, and droughts leave crops and livestock desperate. It seems many would call it quits after the first hardship, but season after season farmers and ranchers continue to move forward.

This National Ag Week, we can think of no better way to celebrate the farmer than to share a few lessons in strength through adversity that we’ve learned from them.

1. Focus on what you can control

A rancher facing a down cattle market doesn’t stay home and wallow – he continues to feed his cattle, care for the sick and prepare for better days ahead. Spending too much time agonizing over uncertainty is enough to break anyone’s spirit. We’ve learned from farmers that focusing on what we do have control over – our attitudes, our support for our families and network, and taking care of our work and responsibilities to the best of our abilities – can make all the difference.

2. Practice gratitude

Many producers will tell you that their operations are a labor of love. They have a strong connection and appreciation of their purpose – being trusted stewards of the land and livestock – and they are able to cultivate that passion as motivation to carry on past hardships. Gratitude for the responsibility placed on their shoulders is a lesson many of us can use.

3. When times are tough, saddle up

As we sit in home offices and take video conference calls from our kitchen tables, we can think of the farmers, ranchers and agriculture professionals that work to produce our food. They continue to start the tractors and saddle the horses even after troubling times, and we should do the same, figuratively. Now is the time to seek out ways to help and contribute, even virtually, rather than retreat.

4. Sacrifice for the greater good

Many people are currently wondering when they can leave their homes or visit loved ones again. Farmers and ranchers are facing the same, though with lifestyles more suited to social distancing than the rest of us. Producers know a few things about making short-term sacrifices for the betterment of the families, their crops and their animals – from pulling all-nighters in the combine to get a crop off before a rain, taking extreme precautions for biosecurity, to missing holidays and family gatherings to care for livestock,

Despite any adversity or chaos, the need for farmers and ranchers remains constant. As National Ag Week comes to a close, let us recognize the men and women and families producing the world’s food, fuel and fiber, and thank them for the lessons they continue to teach us.

Laura Bardot is a PR and Content Specialist for AdFarm. She is a fifth-generation farm kid with a profound enthusiasm for the Midwest, cattle and Texas Red Dirt music.