A Positive Perspective on the Family Farm
Article By: Randy Ptacek, Relationship Manager for SFB
Last Saturday night, I helped with chores and milked cows on a family farm near where I live. It was a welcome break from my everyday life. With the current shutdowns, school closings, and social distancing to avoid spreading this unfathomable COVID-19 virus, it quite frankly seemed like the only activity that was acceptable.
In addition to my role at the bank, I am a hobby farmer. While I have my own chores at times with crops to plant and harvest and a few animals sprinkled around, there is nothing like doing work on a working dairy farm to keep me grounded and provide stress relief. I honestly enjoy the tasks as it makes me feel connected and more informed about the everyday struggles and rewards of being on the farm. I probably should add a disclaimer that the farmers' place that I was at might argue that "help" is not the right word, but for my lack of breaking anything (which has happened once or twice), it is the word that I will use.
As we went about the farm chores, there were many comments regarding everything from memes that were viewed on social media over the last couple of days to the state of the global markets and speculation about what and where would be affected next. While we were all aware of different messages on the news, the farm chores still needed to be done, and it made me feel good to be a part of it.
During an unprecedented time like this, it's important that we remind ourselves of the positive things that are going on in our lives and take care of what we can control. There are many ways to look at the bright side of what is happening around the farm, such as a new calf being born - because we all know how cute they can be. Even in the midst of markets, we can find things like fuel for spring planting at prices I didn't think we would see a return. And before I get hate mail, I do know the correlation between corn prices and fuel cost. I just chose to focus on the upside of the low fuel price.
So many farms were built around the family farm concept. With schools not in session at this time, it leads to an extra chance for those who have kids or even grandkids to help around the farm. Additionally, there may be friends that are willing to help if they suddenly find themselves with extra time. And with all those extra hands, you just might have a chance to complete that project that has been on your to-do list but you never seemed to have the time or help to accomplish.
A short time spent on all of the day's chores reminds me that if we look hard enough, we can find good in any situation. And in the meantime, we continue to focus on our daily farm chores and relish the extra time and help.
Randy Ptacek has been an ag lender since 2004. Before his career in finance, he spent many years in agronomy and crop production. In addition to banking, Randy also raises hay, corn, soybeans and a few stears. He can be reached at SFB's Ladysmith office at 715-609-1508 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.