The earth shifted Ea. You can feel it with the inauguration of a new American President. Nobody knows the future, but tone is important, and it seems things are more even. Two weeks ago, we had insurrection in the US capital and now things are calm. How this will play out within North American farm country is anybody’s guess. In Canada we look to the south always, finding ways to accommodate the United States of America. That continues, per usual.
Canada had a bit of drama as well this week. We had the resignation of the Canadian Head of State, the Governor General, Julie Payette. It was an abrupt, and unprecedented resignation. I’m looking forward to a little less drama moving ahead. Of course, I wish we could do that at the same time we kick Covid 19 to the curve.
Unfortunately, that battle in Canada continues. These are the latest statistics for Canada taken from the Globe and Mail.
“In the last 7 days, 42,561 cases were reported, down 21% from the previous 7 days. There were 1,083 deaths announced, up 13% over the same period. At least 4,347 people are being treated in hospitals and 645,729 others are considered recovered.
About 80% of the 928,500 doses of vaccine distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 1.9 doses for every 100 people in Canada.” (Globe and Mail Jan 21, 2021)
Those are pretty sobering statistics with the Covid 19 variant seeming to jump off more every day. People are frustrated with the slow requisition of vaccines. Despite vaccines being produced in Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 200 miles away from my farm, in Canada vaccines are coming from the Pfizer plant in Belgium. In Canada next week, we are set to take no deliveries of vaccines from Belgium and at the same time, Pfizer is asking for tax breaks from the federal government. Politicians aren’t necessarily fighting with each other, but the temperature is rising. As you can see by the above statistics, death rates form Covid are rising and a delay in vaccine shipments means more of the same.
From a farming perspective Covid 19 continues to impact our behaviour. In Quebec there is a curfew, in Ontario, there is a stay-at-home order and various other orders across Canada. Last year at this time I was wandering through Asia, and even speaking about Canada’s blue economy at East West University in Dhaka Bangladesh. This year, I’m staying in my lane, with my biggest adventure going out to one my farms to check on the rodent control measures surrounding my combine.
Keep in mind the Prime Minister is promising that all of us who want it will get the Covid 19 vaccine by September. I had been hoping it might be earlier, because planting in 2020 was challenging, staying away from literally everybody as we danced around and got used to the restrictions. My fear at the time was the reality of getting sick and being unable to take care of my responsibilities or worse. It looks like that will continue into spring.
As it stands now it’s a supply issue. I’d like to compare it with old crop soybeans, but it would seem, even old beans are more plentiful than Covid19 vaccines. A month from now, we should have a better idea of whether that Covid 19 vaccine will get better. The Biden administration wanted to do 100 million vaccinations in 100 days. That would be a start. That’s from a nation, which actually produces its own supply. In Canada, we simply have to believe what’s on the requisition order paper.
That is no solace for farmers still waiting for the vaccine or others who are actually suffering from Covid or for those of you have lost family members. The events of the last few weeks might have been volatile politically, but they have taken place during a once in a 100-year pandemic, which will be forever remembered as a life changing event into the future.
In the beginning of this pandemic calamity a year ago, our agricultural markets flexed, bent and broke before repairing themselves. Who knew, there ever would-be Canadian milk poured down the drain or livestock backed up into barns across the land. Who knew I’d be delivering grain to an elevator but encouraged never to leave my tractor seat in order to reduce the risk of Covid spread. It’s truly been a herculean effort by all farmers to keep our food system supplied.
In farm bunkhouses tonight in rural Ontario, there are farm workers still hunkered down during a Canadian winter, not allowed to travel home because of Covid restrictions in their own countries. Thankfully, it’s a mild Canadian winter so far. However, it shows just how things have been changed by Covid 19 even on Canadian farms. As it is, I look forward to getting back to some type of normalcy. It’s been a long and painful road during this time. However, it’s no time to stop now. The vaccines are here. The light at the end of the tunnel might be that harvest sun.