Stressful spring season continues for rural farmers

Stressful spring season continues for rural farmers

POINSETT COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - As the pandemic continues but with some relief, farmers in Region 8 continue to struggle, not only from Coronavirus restrictions but weather and other everyday struggles.

Scott Matthews farms in Poinsett County and says rain and lack of communicating with seed representatives and shop foremen add stress to his already stressful job.

“Our life was always isolated out here in the country, you don’t have a lot of people come by, but now, we have no people,” Matthews said.

Salesmen now only text and, when he does see people, everyone follows social distancing protocols.

Matthews also pays attention to the forecasts but didn’t like the news.

“Ryan just tweeted a while ago that it might be ten days before we get back in the field after it gets wet this time. That’s a long time in May,” he added.

His farming community also feels the added stress the pandemic brought on.

“You usually have a group of friends you talk with, and that is reduced down,” Matthews said. “It’s reduced down because there’s that much more added stress of what they’re having to do. My contact with some of my best friends has been minimal.”

Matthews still needs to plant his soybeans, and uncertainty on when to fertilize and add chemical rice into the ground adds even more stress.

“The pandemic, the virus has just added another level,” he says. “The weather won’t let up, you’ve got a virus, and everything affects you some.”

While the farming season has many negatives, some positives came out of it. Matthew said prices for fuel and fertilizer continue to fall.

He’s hopeful for more positives to surface this season.

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