TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – When the pandemic began, many things came to a stop, but farming wasn’t one of them.
“We can only plant corn during a certain window in the spring, we can only plant wheat during a certain window in the summer, and harvest our fall crops in the fall,” said Kim Baldwin, a McPherson farmer.
During the pandemic, Baldwin and her family have taken extra precautions like wearing masks, using sanitizing wipes, and trying to keep a better distance by using more vehicles.
But really, farming can be a socially distant lifestyle.
“Being away from society at times is kind of the norm. When we’re planting in the spring and we got to get the corn planted, you spend a lot of time by yourself in tractors,” Baldwin said. “Same when you’re harvesting everything in the summer or in the fall. When you’re harvesting in the fall, you spend a lot of time by yourself listening to podcasts.”
Baldwin, as well as many other farmers, are attending the Kansas Farm Bureau’s annual meeting, but this year it’s being held online.
They’re hearing from experts and other farmers on lessons learned and ways to improve their operations during and post-pandemic.
“Coronavirus crashed into every one, but it happened right as farmers were going out to plant, and farmers, when they’re planting, have to interact with other people,” said Vance Crowe, a communications consultant who spoke at the meeting. “They need other people to carry things, to show up with the same planters, to buy sprays, do all of these things.”
For Baldwin, she’s looking for the positives. Her kids are taking a more active role on the farm.
The time has also let her focus on the website of their side business of selling popcorn.
“We’ve been really busy shipping popcorn all over the United States really since March,” Baldwin said.
The crisis is making some farmers self-reflect.
“I think that it’s going to hone, or has honed, how do they spend time,” Crowe said.
Baldwin also said since their family doesn’t have livestock, the winter will be a perfect time to hunker down if the virus worsens.