Archives for May 10, 2020
After hiding away for the past six weeks, there now seems to be a glimmer of light on the horizon, as our leaders start making noises about lifting some of our social restrictions.
Good news??? Well I guess in way it is, it means that the worst of the Covid virus is over but, as long as we are still getting new cases each day, it is definitely not gone from our lives. Businesses badly need to get into earning money again and I suspect that many of them will never recover from the past few weeks of closure. So many smaller businesses are family owned and that means that during closure, nobody in the family has been earning money.
No income means that bills don’t get paid and also no extra money available to make the safety improvements needed to re-open. Plexiglass screens for cashiers and areas large enough to have separation of customers. Most small restaurants do not have the space to seat customers six feet apart and still take in enough income to make a living. Even those with patio areas can only fill one or two tables. One of my favourite hang outs is the Chinese buffet but are buffets going to be allowed in our new, regulated environment? As I don’t eat meat, I love the option of taking lots of small amounts of the vegetarian options which are not always available on regular menus, unless I order lots of different dishes for the variety. This is expensive and way too much food.
While I believe that most of us are dreaming of joining friends for social activities, I don’t think the idea of dining out, at a restaurant, is feasible and probably most gatherings will be in private yards or pot luck style picnics in the park.
Personally, I have got used to not wasting unnecessary money on frivolous items and am not in a hurry to start spending again on things I can do without. This past few weeks have taught me how many unnecessary things I used to purchase, that I will probably not waste money on again. This attitude is not going to help start our economy but many of my friends seem to feel this way.
I did splash out and buy a new car! In February, I returned from Scotland where I had nursed a dear cousin through the worst part of her cancer. She wanted to leave me some money and she requested that I treat myself to a car. Marrying young and having four children in very few years had never left money for a vehicle and, when we could afford one it was always a huge station wagon that would take my large family and our two dogs.
Once children were no longer in need of transportation we had a business and moved to a mini van. More available cash led to an older motor home and a small yellow car for towing behind. This was a Tracker, very basic but fun to drive apart from not having power steering, so I felt like I was driving a tank when taking tight corners or parallel parking.
I had a few very difficult months in fall and winter, culminating in the death of my cousin who had also been a very dear friend. The idea of treating myself to a new vehicle seemed rather extreme but I decided that I was starting a new life and a new car would be a great part of it.
My new acquisition is a small, feminine looking car in a pretty dark blue, because it is solely mine, I do not have to share with a messy partner who leaves Timmy’s wrappers, jump cables, bungee cords and the odd screwdriver on the floor. It is just me and my little dog who sits in her own safety seat that prevents her from decorating the windows with nose prints and messing up the upholstery with sandy feet.
I took ownership several weeks ago and, because of the social distancing thing, it only has 84 kms on the clock. Apart from driving it home from the dealership it has only been as far as the grocery store each week and the garden centre once. No point going further than that as nowhere to go, I don’t visit friends except by telephone or email and the only stores I need to visit are here in town.
Although I have really missed socializing I don’t think I will be rushing back into much mixing for a while, I want to stay healthy as I am hoping that my knee replacement surgery is not too far away. I was two days away from surgery when the hospitals closed it’s door for non emergency cases, too bad as this would have been a perfect time to stay home and recover.
So….much as I am eager to get back into the social whirl I have sorely missed, I think it will be a while before I get my glad rags out of the mothballs and I start to paint the town red, or even a pale pink!!!
For the Tree fruit Industry there is always a storm of one kind or another. Weather as in frost, hail, flooding, new pests and poor returns, there is always something. This year no one ever thought the perfect storm would gather in the clouds of mass uncertainty.
First the Cornavirus took a bite out of marketing. An early frost has decimated the cherry crops. I have spoken to farmers and people associated with the industry, I am getting different visual estimates none of them good. Some say the frost in early April destroyed from forty to eighty percent of their crop.
Others report around fifty percent damage. There are the lucky few that have a three quarter crop as well. The reason is the valley has many micro climates This is cherry production.
There are support programs out there crop insurance and those who say they couldn’t afford it now understand they couldn’t afford to be without it. Keep in mind crop insurance is not about income it is insured compensation for loss.
There is a program called Agri Stability which is based on net income after expenses, a program I never did have much faith in. It’s complicated, time consuming with very little in return in my opinion.
The government federally announced a two hundred forty-five million dollar program for the agriculture industry. If you are a tree fruit grower or a vegetable grower waiting to benefit, don’t wait by your mailbox. This money is for the cattle and hog industry and processors. Tree fruits and vegetables will see nothing in the long run.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture said the figure should be two point six billion. In my opinion any program needs a criteria for disbursing the funds. If that kind of money were injected into the system it would be serving the livestock and grain sectors. Again tree fruits would see little, and closer to none.
Some in the past have said why don’t we just give up on the industry? Lets explore the impact of that. In two thousand fourteen the economic value of the industry was around five hundred and thirty million dollars. In two thousand twenty, the figure I last heard a few months ago is now seven hundred and seventy-six million. To put this into perspective think of the business activity and the jobs that depend the industry. Groceries, vehicles, retail outlets, recreation, the trades and more
The Valley would need to find three quarters of a billion dollars to offset the loss of what we already have. To be honest I think it will be a tough go as it is for everyone. The agriculture sector is going to feel pain not seen since the early fifties. That pain will trickle down to the rest of us.
The sad truth is the year is not over yet. Farming is and has always been the most expensive form of gambling. The coined phrase is “We’re in this together” it implies we share an equal burden. The problem is the money, short of what is needed suggests equal is a relative term in that it appears some are more equal than others.