Imagine not having enough people to help care for livestock or crops.
Or not being able to get parts for a tractor or fertilizer for fields.
When the crop is produced, infrastructure is not there for it to move to market.
And when the product finally is sold, it may be at a price the farmer cannot live on.
Now imagine having the challenges above while being shot at or farming fields with exploded and unexplored artillery.
Farmers across the globe deal with depressed prices, supply chain issues and aging infrastructure, but most of us cannot fathom farming in a war zone. This, however, is the reality for farmers in Ukraine.
A group of Farm Bureau members along with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Board of Directors recently traveled to Washington, D.C. While there, the group had the experience of visiting the Ukrainian Embassy.
Ukrainian farms have been heavily affected by the war but the resilience to continue to grow food for their people is remarkable. We met with Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova who explained the emotional turmoil citizens and farmers in her country are experiencing.
The Ambassador walked through the problems of getting crop protection and fertilizer moved around the country during planting with vastly deteriorating infrastructure. With ongoing issues with supplies and repair parts, farmers struggle to make do with what they have on hand.
The challenges these farmers are facing include everything from destroyed ports and grain storage, to stolen livestock taken to feed troops. Days before we met with the Ambassador, the Kakhovka Dam was breached causing extensive flooding and emptying a reservoir used for crop irrigation.
As we discussed the many issues facing farmers there, the Ambassador brought up another uniquely familiar challenge to farmers across the globe. Farmers, in general, work alone and have an attitude of taking care of things themselves. Ukrainian farmers have a lot of weight on their shoulders as they care for their farms and families. The Ambassador spoke of the challenge of supporting their farmers as they struggle emotionally and mentally from the effects of war.
Farmers of Ukraine are resilient and steadfast, but Ukraine will need help rebuilding their country and feeding their people. The war has impacted far more than the region. With the rich, productive soils in the area, the Ukraine war has had real impact on global food prices and global food security.
Farming is a resilient lifestyle. Animals need to be cared for, crops need to be tended to and, at the end of the day, we are called toward a greater purpose of feeding a growing world. Following our meeting with the embassy, our members left with a reflective mindset and heavy hearts for our fellow farmers.
There is no comparison for exactly what farmers in Ukraine are going through, but our farming community here at home continues to pray for peace and resolve for all of those feeling wartime impacts across the globe.
Kevin Krentz was elected to the WFBF Board of Directors in 2012 to represent District 5, which includes Adams, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Juneau, Marquette, Waushara and Winnebago counties. In December of 2020, Kevin was elected as President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. Kevin and his family own a dairy farm in Berlin. He started his farming career when he purchased his father’s 60 cows in 1994. He grew the farm to 600 cows and 1,300 acres of crops.