President's Column: Stay Safe, Pray Hard, and Keep the Faith

Posted on Apr 6, 2020

Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney

Had anyone told me a few weeks ago what we would now be going through because of something called COVID-19, I expect I would have found it hard to believe. And as much as I have prayed for it to be a bad dream, it isn’t, and we are trying to navigate in a world most of us have never known.

With that said, I also got up this morning and put my boots on like I always do. I made my way to our farm market area to check on things, like I do whenever I am here at home. And I began to work around the farm in as normal a fashion as ever.

I realize to say things are normal, is no longer realistic for most of us. We are a society that has become accustomed to being around each other, and that is especially true for the people who live in rural communities.

We are friends and family in my hometown and cherish the times we get to spent together. But at the same time, we are patriots, of sorts, and we have a duty to keep each other safe and to keep this coronavirus at bay.

I know you feel the same way. That’s the mindset of our farm families. We face challenges every day and we turn them into opportunities whenever possible. I’m spending precious time with family members. I’m spending valuable time on a farm that has been in my family for more than 150 years. And we are planning for a new crop, perhaps in a way that we have never experienced before.

I realize our industry will have to endure hardships created by this pandemic, but we are fortunate to live in a state where resources are available to help our operations. We have diversified our farms over the last several years to enable us to grow a variety of crops, to raise different breeds of livestock, and to farm in a more productive manner than at any other point in history. 

We are poised to meet this situation head-on and get past it. It won’t be easy, but we know what hard work is all about. The American farmer is probably the best suited of anyone else in any other industry to weather this storm and continue to plant, grow and harvest the food this world needs to survive. I believe the government refers to us as being essential; as are the medical professionals who are the frontline soldiers in this battle; our first responders who work tirelessly to keep us safe; those who move our goods from one place to another by ship, rail and road; and the men and women of our National Guard and armed forces who are always ready to protect us. We thank each one.

This battle against COVID-19, is a war of a different kind. But, as a farmer, and as an American, I can’t ever recall backing down from a fight in order to protect my family, my friends, my farm and my community. And I’m not about to start now. We are going to fight this thing by following the proper protocol set forth by our local, state, and federal leaders, and we are going to win.

Stay safe, pray hard, and keep the faith.

Mark Haney, President
Kentucky Farm Bureau