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Uncertain times

Progressive Cattle Editor Carrie Veselka Published on 06 April 2020

It has occurred to me that we humans seem very attached to catch phrases, something short, snappy and easily repeatable. I remember when the Tyson fire happened last August, one news article called it a “black swan” and pretty soon, everyone was calling it a black swan which, personally, I think is too suave a name for something that shook up the beef industry so much. Better to call it a “black buzzard” or something equally unsavory.

“Uncertain times” seems to be the moniker of choice for this particular COVID-19 mess we’re in. Everyone must be as sick of hearing about it as I am of writing about it, yet it is necessary to stay informed, so back to the news we go, me to write and you to read. Trust me, you have the more pleasant job. In all of the news releases and press statements I have received and read about COVID-19, I have honestly lost track of the number of times I have read or heard the phrase, “during these uncertain times.” I swear, if I hear it one more time, I’m going to kick something.

But they’re not wrong. In our lifetime, we have never had a challenge quite like this to deal with – a sickness spread by human contact, something it is in our very natures to do. Before February, “social distancing” wasn’t even a thing, and no one outside medical school had ever used the term “respiratory droplets.” Going to the grocery store was a monotonous routine instead of the fraught, panic-edged nightmare it is today. 

This is not the first pandemic the world has ever seen. The Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 killed 50 million people, and let’s not forget the several rounds of bubonic plague that have killed hundreds of millions over the course of history. Do me a favor and Google the origins of "Ring Around the Rosie" if you want to creep yourself out. I don’t know whether this is a plus or not, but this is also the first pandemic where almost everyone has Wi-Fi. 

Times are indeed uncertain. People who were making a steady living two months ago are now out of work; normal activities like going to the movies or dinner with friends are now suspended until further notice. Instead, folks are hunkering down in their homes, ready to live off their canned food and hoarded toilet paper and watch Tiger King (haven’t seen it, not going to; I’m hoarding my brain cells instead of toilet paper). 

The ag industry is not new to recessions, hard times or even uncertain times. We’ll make it through this one too, one way or another. One nugget of wisdom that I have come across helps me when I feel like the floor is falling out from under me: Focus on what you know, not what you don’t. 

Here are some things I’m certain of:

  • Disney remakes will never beat the classics.
  • No matter what today is like, tomorrow has a 50-50 shot of being better.
  • Cattle don’t care what the rest of the world is doing – they just want feed, water and to be left alone.
  • It is better to ride and get tossed than to never ride at all.
  • I don’t know who needs to read this, but you left the gate open.  end mark

Check out our COVID-19 Watch page to keep up with the latest news.  

Carrie Veselka
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