I noticed a trend on social media a few days ago. Amid the pandemic, suddenly the coronavirus fear mongering had died down a bit — and more and more users were doing their best to spread cheer instead.
Some shared funny memes. Others shared the bright sides of social distancing.
Always one to look for a silver lining, I put out some feelers on my own accounts. Sent a few emails. I asked several of our members if they’d found any ranch-specific positives in the mix. Because while this is something we must take seriously — both from health and economic standpoints — sometimes it’s nice to just read or watch something that makes you feel good.
Here are a few of the pros Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association members have found among the cons of COVID-19:
- More available labor. Multiple members reached out to share stories of children and grandchildren being free to help at the ranch, thanks to a flexible online school schedule. Some mentioned they were finally getting some special projects like building gates and painting fence marked off the list.
- Teachable moments for families. One friend told me she was grateful her son, a high school student, was gaining valuable lessons in time management. With schoolwork taking up less of his time for at least the next two weeks, he can not only help on their ranch, but also take on other jobs. She knows this lesson in prioritizing and scheduling will help him as he goes off to college in the fall.
- More time to experiment with recipes — featuring beef, of course! Two different messages mentioned time to think outside of the box when it comes to cooking. With so many activities cancelled, more and more people are finally cooking those recipes they saved on a Pinterest board in 2017.
- New opportunities to connect with consumers. With beef flying off the shelves in the grocery stores, producers who sell direct-from-the-ranch said their phones were ringing off the wall. One rancher I spoke with said they launched their beef sales business last week, only promoted it on Facebook and Instagram, and sold out within a couple of days. Others took the opportunity to talk to consumers about where their food comes from — and encourage them to check back with their grocery store soon because there is plenty of beef on the way.
To those who shared their stories with me, thank you for the reminder: there’s always something to be grateful for.
Katrina Huffstutler is the executive director of communications for Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.