Wow, what a strange time in our world. Everyone hunkered down, sewing masks, slowing down the internet with a million Zoom, Skype, Go To or Teams meetings (and that’s just in one hour of the day!).

But amid all the clutter, most of us still have a job that needs done. How are you handling that responsibility? Almost everyone is working from home which brings new challenges – kids at home, dogs barking in the background of conference calls, too many nearby snacks (oops – wonder if anyone will miss that cookie I just found in the back of the freezer in the farm office frig?), etc., etc. For me the real challenge is not seeing our HMG team and our clients.

Then I think of my in-laws during World War II. Steve’s dad, Urban, served in the Army Air Force for three long years in northern Africa. Meanwhile Steve’s mom battled some major health problems here in the states. The only connection they had during those three long years of engagement were letters. That’s right – handwritten, mailed at the post office, letters. We don’t have it tough at all.

The bottom line? We will come out of this historic period in our country. We will continue to produce food. Will it look the same? Who knows? But one thing we cannot turn over to another country is our food production.

What are you doing to communicate with your customers and clients? Are you sending more emails? Making more phone calls? Sending more handwritten notes? Whatever it is, we all know we need to up our game in communicating. Do you need some help setting up effective eblasts? Maybe a media release about an exciting new development in your company (everyone is looking for some non-virus related news!)? Whatever it is we are here to help.

I’ll let our HMG Team tell you about our new normal.

Working from home for me means sitting at our kitchen counter with a view of North Walnut Street in Early. Each day over the noon hour, my husband, our dog, and I take a walk around town with the goal of checking mail and getting some fresh air. Barb, Katie, Jen, and I are connected via Skype daily which is a great resource – quicker than email and suited to short spurts of Q and A, updates, and the occasional video conference. And we’re talking with our customers regularly, too, using some of those methods Barb mentioned in her update. I can’t wait for social distancing to be a memory, to get out to see customers, friends, and family. Until then, I’m grateful for technology!

Ann Trimble-Ray

Coming from the wife of an agronomist, Spring is no time to be quarantined to your house! Let me paint you my picture of working from home. I am set up with my two computer screens at our kitchen counter with the breeze blowing in from our windows. I have my every day essentials beside me – coffee mug, HMG water bottle, phone, my to-do list, and my dog, Raven (affectionately known as Hoodrat), staring at me with sad eyes occasionally wanting me to throw her ball. I have settled into a norm of working my normal 8-noon morning hours, followed by making lunch for myself and my husband, Derek, as he runs in to grab a quick bite and he’s back at it, hauling anhydrous, of course! Then, I finish off my afternoon continuing to design anything that is needed on my to-do list, along with countless other items. As Ann mentioned, we have fallen into a great system of being connected to each other and our customers by skype, email, calls, and texts. It is good to see each of my coworkers every week, even if it is only through skype video. How lucky are we to remain so busy in such crazy and uncertain times!

Katie Ketelsen

My standard work area has evolved to a little desk nook in our bedroom with a view out the windows. Once an area taken over by my husband, I had given him the task the first weekend to clean his paperwork out because I was moving in. After a little maneuvering of multiple monitors, my desk here looks like it did at the office – a mess. Yet, I am still plugging on by designing and trying to keep in touch with the rest of the community. Sometimes a wave to your neighbor or a car driving by is all you need.

Jen Hoaglund