It has been three months since the team at Heartland Marketing Group began working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have talked about returning to 110 N Main Street in Early, however, our proximity to a COVID-19 hotspot (Buena Vista County, Iowa) has kept us at our makeshift desks. We use Skype to stay in touch with each other and a variety of other tools to remain connected with our customers.

One of our customers is the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) and consequently we write a lot about swine disease prevention, preparedness, and response which are the organization’s key focus. We suspect we could all learn something from how animal agriculture meets the challenge of a foreign animal disease, including biosecurity practices.

If you have ever visited a swine barn, you know the protocol you must follow. First, you must not have visited another barn for several weeks. Second, you will be asked to shower in, leaving your own clothes and shoes in a secure location separate from the pigs. Your attire for the barn will consist of coveralls (disposable or appropriately laundered on site) as well as disposable shoe coverings or other footwear. Lastly, when you exit, you will reverse the procedure by showering out, leaving the farm’s clothing behind, and returning to your own attire. Drastic? Not at all when the consequences are measured – an accidental exposure of a barn full of naïve pigs to a pathogen can be disastrous.

Makes working from home, wearing a mask, and maintaining social distancing seem reasonable, doesn’t it?

Since we have been working from home, it has given us greater opportunity to be observers of the industry we serve. Barb has started a new tradition of photographing progress in their corn field near their mailbox each Thursday. We don’t need to take a field trip or find a boot camp for learning the essentials of production agriculture to share our customers’ stories. We live and work in the heart of crop and livestock production. Our understanding comes from experience, proximity, and interest. We are proud to tell agriculture’s story and provide our customers’ with quality work without needing to learn at their expense.

Thank you for your trust in Heartland Marketing Group. Whether we are working from the office or home, we seek to meet and exceed your expectations. Stay safe!