Many of our Ohio agricultural business partners are settling into teleworking, the challenges of setting home office boundaries with children who are out of school and taking care to keep family and friends most at risk for COVID-19 infections. It can be challenging.
Meanwhile, our Nation’s farmers are entering a third consecutive year of “never before seen” impacts on their livelihoods – First trade wars, then disastrous climate change impacts, and now… a global pandemic plus sharp commodity price drops associated with effects of crude oil price drops on ethanol production.
To paraphrase John Piotti, President and CEO of American Farmland Trust: “None of us know how this is going to unfold over the next few months, but one thing is certain: America’s farmers and ranchers will be out in the field planting and getting ready for the 2020 season.”
Unsurprisingly, those who work in food and agriculture are “essential critical infrastructure workers” according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
The stress is enormous. Still – across Ohio, farmers are getting ready for the spring planting season. Some operations have commenced in the southern part of the state. They are a resilient bunch.
Let’s help our farmers maintain that resiliency. But let’s not add to our farmers’ stress. Let’s do our jobs and keep our farmers safe in theirs. Please follow guidelines provided by your organization, the State of Ohio and the Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, the OSU Extension has resources on the website, https://u.osu.edu/2019farmassistance/covid-19/ .
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold, Ohio State Extension is working with our partners to keep our communities safe – while still working to promote the adoption of agriculture, horticulture and natural resources.
OSU Extension Staff has been asked to telework through at least April 21st. With Governor DeWine’s announcement over the weekend of the changes to essential working entities, we may extend this timeframe.
Following The Ohio State University and Ohio State Extension directives, OSU Extension will cancel all in-person events through April 30.
We have experienced – and heard of others’ experience – of trouble accessing teleconference lines and web-based conference platforms. Consider changing your start time to something other than the top of the hour or bottom of the hour. For example – 1:10, 1:15, or 1:20 instead of 1:00
Please keep in mind that many of our Ohio agricultural and agribusiness staff who are working remotely live in more rural locations with limited broadband capabilities. Video conferencing will be difficult for those individuals. You may wish to discuss using platforms approved by your organization, such as Box, to share and collaborate on files.
We are committed to working with our partners to plan future events and training – and are working to provide adaptive means of communication – so that we can continue to educate and promote the use of research-based education practices on Ohio cropland. Please reach out to any of us for support.
Sarah J. Noggle
Extension Educator, Agriculture, and Natural Resources