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Young: We’ll get through this together

Pan-dem-ic / pan’demik / Definition: an outbreak of a disease prevalent over a whole country or the world.

A 25-year-old member of my team of reporters asked me last week if I’d ever been through anything like this before. No, I have not. I have no frame of reference for what has happened in the world, in our country and in my community in the past two weeks.

It changes daily — sometimes hourly — so I’m not writing about specifics, as it could very well be obsolete when you read this. At this writing, I do not personally know anyone who has been confirmed with COVID-19.

As is the case with anything, there are those who are so frightened and panicked that it is debilitating for them. And there are those who believe COVID-19 is no more of a threat in America than Influenza A (recall the 2009 H1N1 pandemic?) or SARS (the outbreak in 2003 that was also caused by a coronavirus.)

My personal take on it lies somewhere in the middle. Of course, I am concerned about the toll this virus could take on the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

I’m deeply concerned about the overall economic impact of the reaction to COVID-19. Very few businesses will remain unscathed.

Those of us raising cattle have taken another hard hit. The price of boxed beef continues to skyrocket, but the cash cattle price has taken a huge dive.

The Big Four packers — Tyson Foods, JBS, Cargill and National Beef — are being called on to get more aggressive in the cash market and base bids on the increased cutout value instead of futures.

I do appreciate the support I have received from the company for which I have worked for 22 years. I know I am blessed. I have friends whose sole income is tending bar or waiting tables at a small, local establishment. The owners of those businesses simply cannot continue to pay them and cover all other expenses when the doors are closed.

I’m sorry that medical professionals are having to deal with everyone telling them how to do their jobs right now. I’m sorry they must watch as people develop their own theories and share them on social media.

I’m sorry corporate media picks up the most sensational theories and puts them out as news. None of these individuals or corporate media has any training or experience in the medical field.

American agriculture feels your pain.

I am grateful for all the medical professionals on the frontlines and those who are unseen and unsung heroes every day — pandemic or not. God bless the truck drivers and those stocking shelves and disinfecting.

My heart goes out to those high school seniors who came into the world the year of 9/11 and are finishing out their school year taking online classes or being homeschooled because of a pandemic. They have had those rites of passage like prom and senior skip day and, for many, a graduation ceremony taken away from them.

During these days and weeks of social distancing, perhaps we will find some moderation. With school and church and other community activities postponed or cancelled, there is time that can be spent having meals together as a family.

Yes, it’s a difficult time in America, but spring has arrived. It’s National Agriculture Week. Let’s support one another in our communities and we’ll get through this together.

Cyndi Young-Puyear is farm director and operations manager for Brownfield Network.

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