Most of the nation’s school-age children are going to finish out the school year at home-learning from mom and dad, where they are hopefully safe from the global pandemic that is COVID-19.

What a difference a few weeks makes. In February, we were optimistic about what new trade agreements would mean to the farm economy and were hopeful for increased prices for the 2020 crop year. A few short weeks ago, we were hearing and reading about a new flu that was affecting residents of Wuhan, China. It seemed very far away and it only deserved a moment of our precious time, because we were so very busy.

We were too busy to spend time with family and loved ones because work was too important; too busy to put our cell phones down at dinner; too busy to enjoy sunrises and sunsets; too busy for the important things in life. It looks like COVID-19 is going to “homeschool” all of us. As farm families, we usually spend more time together than most, but we can still learn from this experience.

A few things to do more of:

• Spend more time with our aging parents, their time is slipping away and family memories and years of wisdom will go with them. Skip the birthday presents and bless them with your time. You may need to do this by phone until the current threat passes.

• Do something with your teenagers that they want to do, even if you think it is a waste of time. Be honest, your parents often thought you were wasting time, too. Ask your young adults their opinion on a current event. Before you tell them why they are wrong, ask them why they feel the way they do.

• Really look at your spouse while having a conversation. Don’t look at your cell phone or answer calls. Give her/him your full attention for as long as they need it. 

• Call a friend or neighbor and check on them. Not everyone can get out right now and if they are trying to stay away from others, your call will be a welcomed one.

• Pray for the health and peace of your fellow man

Let’s do less:

• Worrying about our differences instead of what we have in common

• Competing with our friends and neighbors and being thankful for what we have

• Helping others up, instead of stepping on them to get where we want to go

• Taking those we love for granted

 I’m not on the “front line” of this pandemic. I’m just a banker, doing my best to keep the farm loans moving so the important folks who feed us will have the money they need to continue to operate. However, I want you to know it didn’t take empty grocery shelves for me to know how important our farmers and ranchers are. Thank you for all you do.

Kathy Daily is the Senior Vice President of First Financial Bank’s Farm and Ranch Division. She has been an agricultural lender for more than 25 years. 

Kathy DailyAg-VisorsMost of the nation’s school-age children are going to finish out the school year at home-learning from mom and dad, where they are hopefully safe from the global pandemic that is COVID-19.What a difference a few weeks makes. In February, we were optimistic about what new trade agreements would...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma