Update from Tom Loane
BBM 2019 Agriculture Scholar
Not much has changed for me during COVID-19 as I started working on my partners parents’ farm/feedlot operation in the New England prior to it kicking off.
Due to high cattle prices, numbers here are low so mainly maintenance jobs are on the cards. This includes re-fencing high traffic areas of the farm and also managing cow and calf nutrition coming into winter.
We have also been working with a pasture agronomist to improve pasture productivity and soil health.
The beef industry largely remains unchanged except for exports, however we supply cattle to the domestic market so we are lucky in that regard.
The cropping farm of the operation has experienced some uncertainty due to the 80 percent trade tariff China put on barley. However, we are again lucky that we can use this grain for our feedlot.
It is a shame that my trip to the US and Canada is on hold now. However, this has given me the opportunity to spend a bit more time with my partner, who is a past BBM scholar, which is a bonus (sometimes!). I have had thoughts of possibly changing my plans to head to NZ instead now and visit some farms there if it is too difficult to travel to the US.
Either way I am looking forward to completing my BBM scholarship with renewed enthusiasm after isolation!