April 2020

It happened, a pandemic!  COVID-19, aka Coronavirus, has swept the entire world.  Not one person is unaffected by the damage this pandemic has brought to our lives and economy.  As of April 2, 2020, at 6:47AM, there have been 956,588 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 48,583 deaths in the world.  In the United States, 216,405 confirmed cases and 5,135 deaths.  In California, 9,587 confirmed cases and 204 deaths.  In Madera County, 25 confirmed cases and 1 death.

Remember this, the talk of New Year’s Eve 2020 was, “This will be the year of FOCUS.”  Focus, was a silly play on the new year, insinuating 2020 represents perfect vision.  The attitude of “focus” was to say, let-go distractions, pay attention to important things, don’t waste time with the things that aren’t inching you one step closer to the things in life you want for yourself, your family, professionally, etc.  I’d suggest every person alive today is more focused than ever.  Frankly, we are hyper-focused on some of the more important things that matter, such as our family, our job (if we’re lucky enough to still have one), money, etc.  Other things we’re focused on are, how do I scratch my nose, rub my eyes or pick food from my teeth.  It’s gross, but we all do it!  It’s been hard to run into friends and not shake their hand or give them a hug.  Breaking this behavior has been slightly difficult and weird, for me.  We’ve had to adapt new ways of conducting business, such as holding meetings remotely via Zoom.  Zoom is a web-based platform used to organize a multiple person meeting in the comfort of your home or office.  Our MCFB Executive and Board meetings have been via Zoom.  We’re learning how to adapt.  How has this pandemic affected you, your agribusiness, your field employees, office staff, suppliers, etc.?  In some ways, nothing has changed.  I’ve learned the single best thing I can do is communicate in my farming operation the latest happenings of COVID-19.  By nature of the work, farming operations closely follow social-distancing guidelines.  But I’ve recognized the more I communicate updates, check-in on how employees are doing, how their families are doing, the better response I get from them on the farm.  The sooner we nip this virus in the bud, the better off we will all be.

Lastly, I’ll share a quick story from a recent visit by my grandmother-in-law (90 years old).  She drove out to the house to visit my wife Alli, the kiddos and I, but stayed in her car to follow social-distancing guidelines.  I asked her, “Grandma, what in your lifetime can you remember closely resembling the moment in time we are experiencing now?”  She replied, “Nothing!”  But, one day when she was young, she asked her mother how her aunt passed away.  Her mom replied, she died during the Spanish Influenza in 1918.  In 1918, 675,000 people died from the Spanish Influenza.  We are experiencing unprecedented times, there is no play book to follow.  Please stay safe and continue producing the world’s best food and fiber for all the world to enjoy.

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