News releases during the first few months of 2020 about some countries closing their borders, cities on lockdown, cruise ships being kept from docking, large gatherings like hockey games and other sporting events postponed indefinitely, churches closing their doors until further notice and all unnecessary travel outside the home is ill advised. All this happened because of an outbreak of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus in people that so far has no vaccine available to prevent it. Farmers have commonly used a vaccine to prevent coronavirus in calves for several years. This cattle vaccine was available because there was a sale for it to farmers.
Some people are so panic stricken that they are fighting in the grocery stores over the last loaf of bread or the last pack of toilet paper on the shelf. The most vulnerable people are the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions or a compromised immune system.
A period of uncertainty of commodity prices and reduced quotas for dairy and a drop off in international markets caused by trade deals brokered by people who had not done their homework has resulted in a jump in farm bankruptcies, increases in stress in the agricultural community and a spike in suicides.
The farming community has made use of resources available from our health care workers, farm organizations, psychologists, doctors and many other concerned citizens to provide courses on dealing with different levels of stress and suicide prevention.
Counselling groups and safe places have also been set up in many valley towns. These groups are for everyone concerned or depressed about family or friend deaths or any psychological distress that you may face. These groups usually meet weekly and discretely close to you.
Psychological issues are is a common problem that many of us have at some point in our life.
The most important first aid for someone having a bad time in this rush, rush world is to meet them with a smile, take time to stop and listen, tell them how important that they are to you, their kids, their community, their pets and animals. A hug from you or their child can have unknown positive effects.
No matter what happens, farmers will feed and look after their animals, milk the cows, gather the eggs and keep producing the safe Canadian food you need. There will be food on the shelves, if not today, it’ll be there tomorrow.
There is great farm safety organization, Canadian Agricultural Safety Association that works with farmers and farm organizations in all provinces that provides information and resources concerning all things dangerous on farms. Google: Canadian Agricultural Safety Association for lots of information.
Canadian Farmers with Disabilities is a group who support farmers with disabilities. Their website can also be contacted through Google. Our federal government greatly reduced their funding a decade ago but Canadian Farmers With Disabilities still provides support services.
For “Sentinel” (suicide prevention) training or follow up support covering all psychological distress thoughts; call or text 613-878-0081 or email email@example.com
Check on the elderly, talk to your neighbours, be safe and meet everyone with a smile.
Chris Judd is a farmer in Clarendon on land that has been in his family for generations. firstname.lastname@example.org
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