Jeff Bender, DVM
We often “live in the moment” and sometimes forget to plan or strategize for the future. The current pandemic has reminded me of the value and need for planning and being prepared. We can’t anticipate all contingencies but if we engage others, together we can better understand the challenges and issues ahead.
Now is the time for us to come alongside our farmers and producers to help them consider ways to be prepared for unexpected events and disasters. This year not only are we dealing with a pandemic but many of our producers have dealt with adverse climatic events (wildfires, floods, tornadoes, etc.) and economic challenges (lack of market access and trade barriers). These events are impactful. I believe our next opportunity is to partner with the agricultural community to prepare for such events.
One example of our efforts has been our Rural Firefighters Delivering Agricultural Safety and Health (RF-DASH) project, led by our colleagues at the National Farm Medicine Center. This is a program that trains firefighters to prepare for farm related disasters. In so doing, they are engaging producers to consider prevention approaches…heading the problem off before it can begin. We need to continue and expand similar efforts.