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Endurance of Agriculture
Endurance of Agriculture
Brealyn LaRue
Monday, March 30, 2020

      Despite the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, ranchers and farmers worldwide are showing up each and every day to ensure that food is still reaching the dinner table. These agriculturalists do not work a typical 9 to 5 shift, but rather 24 hours, 365 days a year. Their career is not just a job; it is their way of life.
      Many farmers and ranchers have families to support as well. Brandon LaRue is a local Montanan agriculturalist who lives this way. He has to balance the endless tasks of raising cattle, managing crop ground, maintaining equipment, and taking care of finances all while leaving plenty of  time to spend with his wife and 4 children. He explains that a typical day’s schedule changes throughout the year, stating: “This time of year we’re calving. It starts off with checking calves, checking cows, going to feed, and continuing to monitor calves”. While there are many other jobs to accomplish throughout the day, “the main priority is making sure that the cows and the calves are all healthy”.
      This yearly occurrence is vital for ranching success and can not be paused by the current pandemic and it’s accompanying panic. Brandon explains how the virus outbreak has affected his family as well as ranchers and farmers as a whole: “We kind of self-isolate ourselves anyways, especially this time of year with calving...so it hasn’t really affected us directly yet...the cattle markets have gone down, the stocks have gone down, so that’s going to play a big role in our livelihood”.
      Neighboring rancher Matt Cremer shares a similar view, explaining that all of the markets have taken a dive for the worse due to the pandemic. Whether or not those markets rise when it comes time to ship calves in the fall is a major concern. Matt states: “It’s pretty worrisome. It’s just one of those things you have to watch and try to figure out what to do”. 
       As the virus continues to spread, another growing issue in the agricultural industry is government ordered business closures. Matt expresses his concerns regarding these closures, emphasizing the importance of vet clinics and feed stores as well as part stores and mechanics shops in the world of ranching. If these key businesses were to be deemed non-essential, Matt says: “It’s one of those things you just sit down and tough it out”. 
      He goes on to explain that those involved in ranching and farming do not have the choice to stay indoors. They have a responsibility to take care of their livestock and crops regardless of weather conditions or the threat of a virus. Ranchers and farmers will still provide the necessity of food during even the most difficult of times.