A look back over the last few months to analyze what agriculture and rural Oklahoma have discovered so far through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whatever we have to say about the year 2020 to this point, we can be assured that change is certain.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our daily lives, upending the things we once counted as certain or that we took for granted.
In agriculture, the massive disruptions to America’s food and fiber system placed farmers and ranchers in the same camp as consumers, just on the opposite ends of the supply chain. Agricultural producers watched the prices they received for their products drop, even as grocery store prices surged due to factors outside of their control.
For rural Oklahoma, it amplified the challenges our rural residents have been facing in recent years. With closing rural hospitals, drive times for critical medical services have increased from minutes to hours. Holes in reliable broadband internet access mean fewer opportunities to work remotely or access telemedicine.
While the full brunt of COVID-19 and its impacts upon society will not be fully understood for some time, Oklahoma Farm Bureau has been monitoring our changing world in the last few months to better understand both the short-term impacts and long-term implications upon agriculture and rural Oklahoma.
As an organization dedicated to effecting change for agriculture and rural Oklahoma, it is an important time to take stock of what we have seen so far throughout this pandemic and analyze how OKFB can help ensure agriculture and rural Oklahoma will continue to grow, no matter what new realities may arise.
Already across farm country, Farm Bureau members are inquiring how we make a stronger, more resilient food system for our nation. They are wondering how we create better opportunities in our rural communities to ensure that residents across our state have access to the same quality of life that our urban friends have.
Together, we are seeking a better way forward in light of the lessons that we have learned the hard way during the last few months.
We have assembled a series of stories that highlight several of the areas in which OKFB works to create positive changes for our state. As we contemplate these lessons, we will continue to work together to create a brighter future for our state, no matter what may come.