Cassidy Comments on COVID-19 Coverage in the Northeast

Farmers in the Northeast United States are facing COVID-19 effects much as they are across the nation and world.

“Area farmers still need to tend to crops and animals every day,” said Tom Cassidy, farm broadcaster and general manager of Ag Radio Network, Inc. (Barneveld, New York). “Something I realized 10 years ago when I left the farm is that news affects us differently when we have a daily responsibility. When I was solely focused on the news I had to deliver, I didn’t get to see the good stuff: calves being born, a manger piled high with feed, the smell of fresh-turned soil, seeds germinating, and dew on the meadow. Those were things I missed and forgot that my farmer listeners were still getting to enjoy. I decided then that I would focus my news delivery on stories that will help producers make better decisions.

“It is a terrible job to tell farmers that prices are down the limit day after day. I can’t change that fact, but I can provide access to information, resources, and people who can show opportunities for that bad news. Farmers in the Northeast are still dumping milk, holding cattle back from harvest, and depopulating broiler sheds and hen houses,” Cassidy added.

“They don’t need to hear that on the radio because they are getting that bad news direct from their processors, co-ops, and auction barns. They need us farm broadcasters to bring them ideas for mitigating risks, alternate markets, different crop rotations, changing input schedules, and how to preserve their mental health and family businesses. This time of disruption challenges us to deliver what our listeners need in a timely, authentic manner with compassion and love for their industry,” Cassidy said.