My Economy

A family farm’s quandary: small kids, no school and harvest around the corner

Andie Corban Jul 9, 2020
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Black farmers are around 1% of all farmers in the U.S. The Black Yard Farm Collective aims to expand their numbers. Lou Benoist/AFP via Getty Images
My Economy

A family farm’s quandary: small kids, no school and harvest around the corner

Andie Corban Jul 9, 2020
Heard on:
Black farmers are around 1% of all farmers in the U.S. The Black Yard Farm Collective aims to expand their numbers. Lou Benoist/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Anne Schwagerl and her husband, Peter, work full time on their 360-acre farm in Browns Valley, Minnesota. However, their life on Prairie Point Farm has been different recently, as their children haven’t been in school or day care since mid-March because of the coronavirus.

“We have had our full family involved on the farm,” Schwagerl said. “The kids have been not super helpful yet, but they’re 6 and 4. It’s pretty tough to get that to work all the time.”

During planting season in April, Schwagerl was relieved to have good weather conditions. Instead of spending her days in the fields with her husband, they rotated between planting and helping their children with distance learning.

Anne and Peter Schwagerl with their two children.
Anne and Peter Schwagerl with their two children. (Courtesy Anne Schwagerl)

“The really big question mark right now is whether there’ll be school this fall,” Schwagerl said. “Because harvest season, almost more than planting, is all hands on deck. That would be really hard to manage with both kids and no child care.”

As a farmer, Schwagerl said she’s had to get used to all the things she can’t control, like the markets or the weather. Uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and what it means for her children is yet another thing she can’t control.

“That’s been just another layer on that cake of just trying to let go and knowing that what’s gonna happen is gonna happen.”

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