We see you. Going about your daily chores. Making sure your animals are fed, oftentimes before you feed yourself. Brushing off any social media posts or comments about “thanking a farmer” because, to you, you’re just doing what you do. In many cases, what you were born and raised to do. 

We go to the local grocery store and see meat cases stocked with our favorite steaks, pork chops, turkey and chicken. Dairy cases lined with gallons of milk and cartons of eggs. For so long, we have taken that for granted. It’s cheap. It’s what we want. It’s there when we need it. 

We want you to know that we know how it got there. We see your profound care for your animals. We know you think often about the pro­­cessing plant and gro­­cery store workers who carry your work through to our dinner tables and food for our families, because we’re all in this together. 

We have all been thrown unwittingly into a character-revealing event. At a time when market prices have plummeted, processing plants have cut back or closed, and the future feels unclear, we see countless examples of your generosity.

 You ask about those who don’t have enough to eat. You look for ways to stock the freezers and coolers of local food banks with the meat, dairy and eggs you produce so well. You put others’ needs before your own. 

When it feels as though unprecedented pressure is being placed on all aspects of your life, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Your family’s number one concern is you, your health and your well-being. No Iowa farmer is facing this by himself or herself. No matter how you may feel, you’re not alone.

We want you to know that we’re here with you. We will work through these challenges. We will see brighter days ahead. In the meantime, we see you. We know you. We care about you. 

We’re all in this together.

Naig is Iowa’s secretary of agriculture.