What seems to be chalked up as Snowpocalypse 2011 for much of the Midwest has successfully laid down a thick sheet of ice and is beginning to dump inches of snow in a large swath that is making it's way across the US. To top that off the temperatures are dipping well below zero in much of the area. Weather permitting, I believe I will take to the couch with my study materials and enjoy the heat of a nice fire. Weather permitting, I took a bit of time to think of the people who don't get the luxury of a snow day:
- I personally know hundreds of farmers and ranchers who woke up this morning to the same weather I did and headed out in coveralls to get to work. Work doesn't cease on a farm when weather gets nasty, it usually just heightens the load. The key farming states in the US - Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri have been hammered by a record-setting combination of ice, snow and just plain frigid conditions. This means a lot of animals and crops will be affected. Many ranchers are trying to get their animals to warmer grounds where they can be provided with a windbreak, dry bedding and fresh water.
- Off the ranch and into the city, as a storm sets into the Midwest region many traders who work at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange packed overnight bags to stay downtown. Many agriculture commodities will still be traded on the board, despite the weather. These commodities and futures are essential to our country's economy.
- Grain dealers across the prairie states are taking a hard hit and operating under skeleton crews only. Major grain companies, like ADM and Cargill, have reported many portions of their operations down because of the storm.
- A friend of mine who works at a Kroger plant, said that crews worked late into the night to keep up with the oncoming demand of what is termed, "snow bread". People flood grocery stores when bad weather is looming and deplete bread supplies. Kroger employees worked hard to help meet the demand.
- An ode to back home, the Southwest Kansas area, is the fact that nobody out there is surprised that they get hit with all the weather everyone else is, but none of the moisture! An already almost non-existent wheat crop will undoubtedly receive a lot of damage with such low temperatures coupled with the lack of moisture.
Even though this post is aimed towards highlighting agricultural jobs that face severe challenges with the weather, I don't want to take away from the fact that many others do the same thing. If you are enjoying a snow day today, take a moment to think of the people who work in the elements to deliver the mail, keep electricity working, clear off the roads, take care of sick patients, ensure national security and keep food on our tables!!!