Wednesday, March 10, 2021


Agriculture One Year Later

Karen Jones, Growmark

Anyone who uses Facebook is likely familiar with their “Memories” feature. I usually enjoy reading about what I was doing on any given day in the past, seeing old pictures of family and friends, recalling travel and work events, and sometimes just laughing at situations shared that had been long forgotten.

As this month began, I started paying more attention to posts from last year. Pictures of a meal in a busy restaurant, comments about attending a work conference, my daughter celebrating her 100th day of school. Little did we know that by the end of March 2020, life as we knew it would change dramatically.

Seemingly overnight we all had to make adaptations to the way we lived and worked. Office buildings transitioned quickly to a remote workforce. New precautions and restrictions were added to attempt to flatten the curve. Students received the longest spring break ever as schools tested virtual classrooms.

But amid it all, agriculture never stopped. Frankly, it couldn’t.

Livestock needed to be fed and cared for. Crops needed to be planted, fertilized, and harvested. Equipment needed repair and commodities needed to be moved across the country and around the world. Essential was the right word to describe the agricultural industry, and we rose to the occasion.

However, it wasn’t completely business as usual. Technology was quickly employed, and sometimes created, to assist in getting the job done efficiently and safely. Some of these tools, such as video conferencing, were already available but perhaps not widely used, while others were developed to fill needs uncovered during 2020.

For example, the recently released myFS Solutions Center was in progress pre-COVID, but it has proven more valuable in a world where face-to-face interaction isn’t always possible. From a single digital location, FS customers can view their account information, pay invoices, explore field-level data, sign contracts, and receive information from their FS sales personnel at any time and from any location. While nothing can replace personal relationships, this tool helps enhance efficiency and communication between farmers and their local FS cooperatives.

While 2020 was a year that won’t soon be forgotten, I hope that it’s also a year we can look back on and see positive, lasting changes to the way we live and work. After all, even the most essential of industries still has room to grow.