Making the best of tough times

Belmont County cattle

“After a crisis we tell ourselves we understand why it happened and maintain the illusion that the world is understandable. In fact, we should accept the world is incomprehensible much of the time.”

— Daniel Kahneman

I had been watching the cattle market after my hubby pointed out it had hit rock bottom. As if farmers weren’t struggling enough, even shipping a cow brought no real return, but keeping it and running feed through it wasn’t looking like a wise move, either.

Then a conversation with friends told us ground beef prices in some stores were reaching $6 per pound. Farmers selling fat cattle are barely seeing $1 a pound. It was enough to bring tempers to the boiling point.

Farmers have been through it. The U.S.-China trade war forced financial hardship on to the vulnerable farmers who had no control over any of it, forcing many farm families to realize they had reached the end of multi-generational operations. Weather added a gut punch to large portions of the Midwest.

I wasn’t very old when I learned that farmers are the only segment of the world population forced to buy retail and sell wholesale, and yet their goods and services are vital to survival of the human race.

As the coronavirus pandemic forces stay-at-home orders throughout our nation, people may be seeing the dynamic importance of knowing where their food comes from, along with many other related necessities.

Eye-opening crises have been a part of humanity since the beginning of time, but this pandemic is forcing a reckoning unseen in many lifetimes. We had become fearless and reckless, taking far too much for granted.

Our eyes are being opened to just how vital reliance upon one another is for our own survival. We cannot make sense of any of it, but we can still learn the lessons built in to such a life-changing moment in time.

Be kind, be considerate, be humbled, be grateful. We are in this together, pushing through it from separate vantage points. One day, this will be a big chapter in our life story. Let’s make the very best of it.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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