Farmer Focus: Pandemic has shown the best in us all

The world around us has changed beyond all imagination since I last sat down to pen my Farmer Focus article.

The Covid-19 crisis has unfolded so quickly that we are all left feeling quite unprepared to deal with this cruel global pandemic.

The restrictions that have been placed upon us are unprecedented and, despite the co-operation of the great majority of people to do what’s asked, it is without doubt a massive wrench to our established lifestyles.

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Freedoms that we all enjoy, and at times undoubtedly abuse, have been stripped away, financial securities have been shattered, and families, friends, and loved ones have been separated.

But despite all this hardship, we have seen many great acts of public service, bravery, and dedication towards others. It’s brought out the best of humanity, taught us to view life differently than before, and also to appreciate a few unsung workers, who might have previously been slightly overlooked, or just taken for granted.

The front-line carers and nursing staff are without any question the heroes of this emergency – they are putting themselves in the greatest of danger just by turning up for work each day, and then battling as best they can against the effects of this killer virus.

Our core service providers have also received a rare show of public appreciation – water, power, communication and transport companies have all kept the nation’s wheels turning.

Supermarket staff, food processors, and of course us, the farmers, have all had to keep our operations going to feed the nation.

Experience of farming during a worldwide lockdown is thin on the ground, so mistakes have undoubtedly been made, and at times the rapidly introduced on-farm measures might seem too basic to make any great difference.

But we’re doing our best, so for now we are trying not to share equipment, spend lunchtimes separately, keeping farm visitors to only the very essential, and using powerful hand sanitisation at every opportunity.

We are luckier than many. Spending so much time outdoors in the beautiful English countryside, while doing a job we love, seems a pretty good deal right now.

So, let’s keep applauding the health service, and please stay safe everyone.

Rob manages an outdoor pig operation in north Norfolk. See his biography.