Opinion: Farmers could teach other Canadians about risk

FarmMedia Glacier – Pig breeders are facing high prices for feed grainmultiple threats to animal diseases, increasing restrictions on how they work and an audience that sometimes treats them with hostility.

Grain farmers face high fertilizer prices, dry soils, higher equipment costs and rising interest rates.

However, both sets of farmers, at least the ones I interact with, are overwhelmingly optimistic and eager to take another year. The many and imminent risks they face do not affect their overall sunny outlook.

If farmers could find a way to convey this optimism-in-the-face-of-risk-extreme-temperament to the general population, it would do them a great favor.

Our society is still full of fear and pessimism, after two years of pandemic The war in Ukraine, and half a decade of worsening geopolitical tensions. Rising inflation does not help.

Part of the fear that occupies a large part of the public seems to be a reasonable fear of real risk. These are more frightening times that most of us have faced for many years or ever. Being cautious as the pandemic ends, a ground war breaks out in Europe, and inflation takes a bite out of the family budget makes sense.

But part of the fear seems reflexive, like a conditioned response learned in the darkest times of the pandemic, when a great wave of disease, hospitalization and death threatened to overwhelm our population, while we waited impatiently and helplessly for vaccines to be created, approved and approved. distributed.

It is as if many are now instinctively jumping into anxiety and fear in the face of any challenge or in the absence of something to alleviate our anxiety. It seems to have become a common way of thinking and feeling – for fear of the worst – that inclines someone to remain in a defensive position until all risks are gone.

This, of course, will never happen, but many in our society have trouble learning to live with the new risks in our lives. Our public health officials are trying to keep us out of our obsessive focus COVID risks, but many have trouble doing so after two years in which they have been encouraged to always be aware of these risks. It is difficult to move from reasonable fear to reasonable confidence.

I have witnessed this directly, in which some are outraged and terrified that the provincial government has stopped reporting daily COVID issues, even though the daily figures offer the public nothing more valuable than the weekly figures. As public health officials point out, their advice on sensitive precautions does not change based on marginal changes in daily numbers: wear a mask when you can; avoid large group gatherings if you are particularly exposed; spend time outdoors and in well-ventilated places if you can. You don’t have to study the daily numbers carefully to figure out whether to do any of these things.

Farmers juggle so many risks. It is an insanely risky activity, regardless of the type of agriculture chosen. It is much more risky than almost any other line of work.

The risk of another drought this year or the outbreak of African swine fever in Canada is much higher than the risk of most people becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 (if vaccinated), as well as the risk of harvesting or . prices are falling, while the prices of fertilizers and feed grains remain high, but most farmers are happy at this time of year, despite the recent past.

Is this confidence in the future a reasonable answer?

For me, it wouldn’t be. But then, I’m not a farmer and I would make terrible decisions if I were a farmer.

I would be afraid to sow my fields or raise my sows because of all the things that could go wrong with crops and pigs. You would not get far as a farmer with this approach.

There are a lot of ways to work as a farmer, as every farmer knows, but you will not do well as a farmer if you are always afraid to take a risk and live with a high degree of risk. Anyone working in agriculture today has experienced and survived several crises.

Many of us who are not farmers could benefit from living with this attitude a little longer. You can’t eliminate all the risks you face, but you can better prepare yourself to deal with whatever comes your way and have little confidence in the future.

Then go out there and plant another crop and raise your sows and cows. You can’t be too scared to go out there and do what you’re there to do.

– This article was originally published on Western manufacturer. Opinion: Farmers could teach other Canadians about risk

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