President's note on the Corona crisis

Online since 19-03-2020
As the Corona virus is currently spreading across the world, we see our lives changing, we see our community come to a hold and our economy is in a crisis. We see how fragile we are in this world.
The financial crisis in 2008 was bad, but this is much bigger because this is also threatening our health and the lives of our loved ones. We see countries following their own paths making their own decisions. We fall back in instincts like closing borders even when the virus has already spread well beyond. We comment on the decisions of others where we should worry about our own. But still I have great respect for our leaders at the moment, they stand for the toughest decisions in their lives to do well for us all.

Europe is in crisis, the world is in crisis and we can only get out of this crisis together. Two months ago, we thought this was a Chinese crisis. Two weeks ago, we thought this was an Italian crisis. Now we know this is a worldwide crisis. We live so close to each other and we are so internationally connected that we need to look at this internationally. We cannot think that this virus will stay out of our lives. It will come and we have to be ready for it. Governments can set out rules but we, the people, are the ones that have to make the difference.

We all have to live by the health and safety guidelines. We have to limit social contacts to the minimum, but still take care of the people that need our support. We have to keep our economy going as good as we can with the limitations that we face. All this to come out of this and continue our lives, companies and jobs. We have to get out of this crisis putting people’s health in the first place.

At the same time, we as dealers have to help our farmers to continue their work. Spring is coming fast and crops are starting to grow. We need to find a way to make it possible for our employees to work in a safe way and still continue their job. In most cases they are not able to work from home… They have to work on the machines in the company and in the field and still feel safe to go home to their families in the evening. We can manage that by giving them the necessary personal protection attributes and show that we care.

Putting the economy in second place is difficult. The whole situation causes severe problems for markets and companies. Are we strong enough financially to handle this? Will we be able to keep our jobs? Questions that are very urgent and alarming, and to the near future we are uncertain on what the outcome will be. We need our governments to support us so that we can survive, for the near future as well as in the long run, since the impact of the Corona virus crisis will be felt for a long period of time. We need branch organisations to defend our interests with the governments so that we are supported where necessary to survive.

Luckily, we see the EU supporting countries by setting up investment funds to help the most affected areas. We see governments supporting companies in trying to prevent bankruptcy. In my home country, The Netherlands, the Dutch government recently announced that all Dutch companies can delay their tax payments for 3 months, the government takes over 90% of the salaries from the employees that cannot continue their work because of the virus, most affected companies get € 4.000 in cash. Small companies do not have to pay their loan repayment for 6 months.

I will not say that we will be less affected economically because people will still need food. It will be a difficult year for all of us. But I cannot think of a better branch to be in at the moment than agricultural mechanisation. The future of farming!

I know that it might not be part of my role as a CLIMMAR President to comment on this, but I feel that we all have an obligation as people to face this crisis together. I wish you all the strength and best of luck in these difficult and uncertain times, but I’m convinced we shall overcome! 

Yours sincerely, 
Erik Hogervorst
President of CLIMMAR