Farm The Life of Cass Travel Agent

The Covid-19 Rollercoaster

What A Ride!

The last 6 weeks have been an absolute rollercoaster!  First, I had to cancel my own personal vacation.  That’s a really sad day for a travel agent!  From the farm, we have experienced supply chain issues, market volatility, funding hiccups and financial slow down.  From the travel side of things, first there was massive cancellations, refunds, rebooking options, insurance claims and a massive halt in business.  And then there’s the distance learning for my kids that cannot go to school.

Along this ride we have been given an opportunity to slow down and run full boar all at the same time.  I have had a lot of time to think, stress, plan and re-plan.  I haven’t said much as far as anything goes except how the supply chain issues effect consumers and how terrible I feel for individuals struggling to find the basic necessities.  I took some time to reach out to local, state and national politicians on issues.  And, although most didn’t even reply, some did and expressed their sympathy and concern for agriculture and for travel alike.  All businesses are struggling in one way or another.  Even those who’s businesses are booming have had struggles.  And, when presented with a problem, it’s all in how you deal with it.  In my case, everything is figureoutable.  (I do love Marie Forleo!)

What’s Happening On The Farm?

On the farm, we had a mama cow die a day after calving, and we now have Ollie the Orphan Calf.  Then three weeks ago, we had a cow have twins and wouldn’t claim one as hers, so we also have Finn.  Finn and Ollie were separated for 3 weeks and just last week, they became the best of buddies.  They go everywhere together in their spacious lot.  We even catch them snuggled up together in their little barn or in the pasture on a sunny day.  As much work as it is to bottle feed baby calves three times a day and make sure they’re healthy, they really have been such a joy.  And, my kids are learning about work ethic.  The babies get fed breakfast before they do.  Check out some of the videos we made on YouTube!

How has this effected agriculture?

We had a hiccup in the supply chain for animal meat.  Slaughter houses and packing plants have been forced to close because of Coronavirus outbreaks in their facilities.  The closures were temporary and a lot of them have started opening back up.  However, in that time, we should have shipped two semi loads of cattle out.  That’s 39 head of cattle per load, roughly $1200 per head, for 2 loads.  If that’s not stress on a cash flow, I don’t know what is!

We started wondering what we were going to do to make payroll and buy groceries.  Thank goodness we already had a freezer full of meat!  But, we still needed staples like milk, eggs, bread, flour, sugar, salt, fruits and vegetables.  And, my kids have been out of school, so my grocery bill skyrocketed with my growing concerns.  We started selling hay.  It has kept up with groceries and payroll for the most part.  I’m blessed to have been able to feed my family and my animals and keep my employees working through all of this.  Sometimes I wondered if I was going to be buying milk replacer or groceries, but I managed to get by.

We waited and waited for our USDA loans to get approved.  With only two workers per office per day able to work and my banker having to take off every other week at the bank, it took WAY longer than it should have to restructure our farm loans.  But, it seems like everything is starting to fall into place.

Great Companies Deserve A Shout-Out

John Deere Financial I have to give props to on deferring our sprayer loan payment until June.  Country Financial I also have to give props to for deferring our insurance payments as well as a 15% refund on all vehicle policies.  I cannot say enough about some of the suppliers we work with on helping us keep our farm running through these tough times.  And I cannot say enough about what President Trump has done to get animal packing plants up and running again.

Governor Pritzker aka Satan

I also want to take just a moment to touch on Governor Pritzker from our wonderful state of Illinois.  I’m not even sure that man has ever stepped foot outside the city of Chicago, let alone visited a farm.  He is the worst thing that has ever happened to this state.  And, that’s saying a lot with the track record of our former governors.  On multiple occasions, I tried to reach out to his office and, conveniently for him, all of his inboxes were full.  While Illinoisans have been begging to go back to work downstate, he has been imposing more stay at home orders than even necessary, keeping people out of work much longer than necessary.  He’s releasing prisoners from prison.  I walked into a grocery store yesterday and there was a police officer checking to make sure people were wearing masks.  Talk about a complete waste of resources.

Travel becomes non-existant.

From the travel side, it was a nightmare to deal with all of the cancellations and insurance claims.  People are starting to think about rebooking vacations they cancelled.  Some people are even starting to think about traveling again and getting price quotes for vacations.  New bookings are not a thing right now, but at least it’s on people’s minds moving forward.  I find that settling on some level.  I do not want to start recommending booking vacations until I’m sure that people are safe to move about the world again.  But, that being said, people love to travel and experience new places and cultures.  It’s good for the soul and I’ll be happy when I can help people do that again.

The Kids Are Home.  All Day. Every Day.

My kids are beyond ready to go back to school.  My kids, like all kids right now, miss their friends.  They struggle with homework.  The boys even miss their teachers.  They miss the structured life that school provides.  And, most of all, they miss not having to learn at a distance on platforms and using technology that they didn’t understand before all of this.  Kids need socialization.  Heck, everybody needs socialization.  We’re social creatures.  Thank goodness for video chat right now!  I’ve been using it to talk with clients all over the country for some time now, but now it’s just my means of talking with my friends, colleagues and family.

What’s The New Normal?

I think it’s safe to say that things are starting to get back to whatever the new normal is going to be.  I mean, except for Illinois where Satan has staked claim on the Governor’s Office.  But, that’s another issue.  I’m right back at Everything Is Figureoutable!  Thanks Marie Forleo!  There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

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