Farmers show the way in a crisis | EDITORIAL

Farmers show the way in a crisis | EDITORIAL

Opinion
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Farmers have been working from home long before a virus forced everyone to.

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EDITORIAL

THERE is a good chance this column could be irrelevant by the time it is printed.

Actually, it could be outdated by the time this line is finished.

That's what happens in fluid, crisis situations such as the one the world is currently facing with Coronavirus.

It is difficult to find a silver lining in such situations, particularly with the health impacts, as well as the economic pounding many economies will take.

But could it be agriculture that shows the world how to move forward in troubling times?

Many businesses have ordered staff to work from home.

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Farmers are ahead of the curve in this regard.

For the vast majority, home is their work.

They've been exhibiting all the work from home (WFH) disciplines that some office workers are now struggling with; task focus, distraction management, out-of-comfort-zone problem solving, multitasking and a sense of responsibility to get things done.

There is another aspect those new to the WFH scenario could learn from: optimism.

In the face of tough situations (high input prices, dictated contracts, water limitations, transport costs, etc) growers get up each day and face it head on.

They do it knowing so many others rely on what they do. They rise above, push through, plough on and make the most of the situation.

It's an attitude the rest of the working world, now doing so from kitchen tables or home offices, would do well to take on board.

Few farmers put out a call for "Netflix binge recommendations" just because they can duck home for lunch.

Working from home is a discipline - just ask any farmer.

This period could be the start of a WFH revolution, and indeed, a regional revolution.

City dwellers may see benefits in getting out of crowded, virus-harbouring congestion and heading for rural towns, particularly now they know they can do their job from anywhere.

They will experience the benefits that go with it, not the least of which is locally grown produce, often available from the roadside stall or open-air farmers' market.

Which brings us to another point.

As many farmers know on a daily basis, we may be in isolation but we are isolated together.

This is a health crisis. While medical experts and researchers will be at the forefront of the fight against Coronavirus, it should also prompt consumers to reconsider their diets.

A steady flow of fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and herbs is going to be a great (and cheap) insurance policy against this virus.

There have been droughts before and pandemic viruses before but humans are a tough lot.

They won't buckle or bow to either.

So hopefully, regardless of what state the world finds itself by now, this column isn't altogether irrelevant.

As many farmers know on a daily basis, we may be in isolation but we are isolated together.

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