As our March 23 edition of Alberta Farmer was being prepared — the paper was printed on March 17 — the COVID-19 situation was changing by the hour.
Like everyone on the planet, those who grow and raise food will be wondering how this pandemic will change their lives. So readers may be struck by the absence of stories in this paper addressing this vital question.
The reason, of course, is simple: While this crisis will pass, no one at this point can predict with certainty what impacts — both short and long term — will be left in the wake of this devastating coronavirus.
So we have done what farmers and everyone else will be doing: Carrying on.
There are stories in our Mar. 23 paper about trade barriers, the forecast for catching up on grain movement, and production topics such as pasture rejuvenation.
None, no matter how important, will be top of mind as we make our way through a calamity that just weeks ago was affecting a province in China most of us had never heard of.
Because things are moving so quickly, we and our colleagues at Glacier FarmMedia will be putting added emphasis on our online coverage. Government Health Departments are the best source of health information: There’s a link on the home page of canada.ca while Alberta Health Services has an online COVID-19 screening tool.
Foremost in our thoughts in the coming weeks and months will be those on the front line — the medical personnel treating the victims and the myriad of people trying to slow and contain the pandemic.
But at the same time, farmers and ranchers in this province and all those in the agriculture sector will be doing what they always do at this time of year — getting their seeding equipment ready, calving, delivering fuel and seed and fertilizer, loading grain cars and a thousand other essential tasks.
Carrying on has rarely been so vital.