By Jeremy C. Nagel
In a very short period of time, coronavirus has tossed our everyday lives into uncharted waters and we’re all struggling to get our bearings. The global pandemic is rearranging all our routines, and its impact on your grassroots Farm Bureau organization is impossible to ignore.
Generally speaking, this is the time of year when Farm Bureau activity takes a back seat to farming itself. We love our Bureau but accept that your real work — feeding the world — takes precedence.
The actual farming component comes with some advantages, as much of the on-farm activity is relatively solitary. There are still precautions to take and surfaces to sanitize, but the risky human-to-human contact the rest of us are avoiding is somewhat less of a factor for those busy tilling, planting, milking, herding, shearing, pruning and spraying.
With the school year on hold, our Promotion & Education program is largely at a standstill. Candidate evaluation work must shift toward more remote means of interviewing office-seekers. Most functions of our very social, people-based organization are facing some sudden and unexpected changes.
Hopefully your Community Group is putting its usual in-person meetings on ice until it’s safe again for people to congregate in gatherings of any size. Even so, we strongly encourage you to explore and experiment with less risky means of staying in contact with each other.
Your MFB regional representative can help you with conference calling options, and even if you’ve traditionally avoided it, I encourage you to build your CAG an online forum. The easiest way to do that is on Facebook, which many of you are already very familiar with. There’s a function there simply called ‘groups’ (convenient, right?) that allows you to name your online club and limit its membership to only the people you choose, giving you a very private online space in which to discuss whatever you like.
In the coming weeks I’m going to follow suit. I’m not social media’s biggest fan, but Facebook does have some redeeming qualities and practical uses for staying in touch with people. In the name of doing all I can to support the Community Group program, I’m jumping in the same boat with you and challenging myself to learn about our options for staying close.
In the meantime, be smart, be safe, stay healthy and keep washing your hands!
Regardless of how you respond, please include your name and which CAG you’re affiliated with.