AgMail: Farmers offer Feedback on Childcare and Labor During COVID-19

( Farm Journal )

Farmers and livestock producers are feeling the effects of social distancing, a confusing marketing outlook and a future with more questions than answers. And support from the Ag community is more important than ever. That's why we're pleased to introduce AgMail: Farmer Feedback, our reader feedback service. 

We’re your friend, supporter and listening ear. Here, your peers share the thoughts, fears, successes and failures in their own words. Read them and know that we have your back. Then share your farmer feedback about what’s keeping you up at night at [email protected]. We’re here for you today, tomorrow and in coming years.

In the The Coronavirus Impact Study, we asked farmers and ranchers, “How will you help employees who don’t have childcare due to school or daycare closures?” Here’s a snapshot of what respondents said: 

“We will help with the kids as much as possible. We may move the family to one of my farmhouses until things get better.”

“Bring the kids to the farm and have them pick up rocks.”

“We have some of the wives doing home schooling.”

“Our daycare just closed. My wife is a nurse, so she has to go to work, and members of my immediate family are in the high-risk category—70-plus years old with health conditions. I’m in the middle of calving and now have to take care of four kids during the day while my wife is working. I’m trying to finish corn harvest. It is turning into a mess.”

“My grandson is now learning more than he wanted to about grain bins.” 

“We’re trying to create our own school and childcare within the guidelines of no more than 20 people gathering at one place. We’re being creative among the families, friends and workers.” 

“Our one employee with children is bringing them to work. They’re helping feed calves and other odd jobs. Also we’re providing Wi-Fi for their school work.”  

“We’ll do whatever we can for them—we appreciate our employees [so] much.” 

“My wife is a teacher at our parish school. Our local/state community is helping out with emergency and health care workers now, providing daycare service to these families. I expect the community to step up and help more individual families as we weather this season."

What’s keeping you up at night? Share your feedback at [email protected] and we’ll share your responses in the next collection of AgMail: Farmer Feedback.