After voting to pass The Families First Coronavirus Response Act on the House floor early Saturday morning, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, flew home to Kansas and headed to a local farm bureau meeting in Maize.

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MAIZE — After voting to pass The Families First Coronavirus Response Act on the House floor early Saturday morning, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, flew home to Kansas and headed to a local farm bureau meeting in Maize.


Early the next morning, he drove over to Rice County and met with farmers.


As Marshall is a physician and served on a medical mash unit in the U.S. Army Reserve, he is familiar with medicine and crisis management. In addition, he grew up helping on the family farm, and his parents still own a farm in Butler County.


“I still think Kansas is one of the safest places in the world to live,” said Marshall, who is running for the U.S. Senate. “In saying that, this country has a tough couple of months ahead of us.”


Marshall said Kansans need to be prepared and have a plan. Although the coronavirus is spreading, he said we need to remain calm.


“We need to put it all in perspective,” he said, “Right now, if you live in Kansas you have a greater chance of catching the seasonal flu and having a serious complication than you do of having a serious complication from corona.


Marshall said if someone in the community tests positive to the virus, it would be a good idea to shut the schools for a while.


“I think this will be our best chance to contain the virus,” he said. “We need to minimize the number of people who have this virus. Every virus we prevent today is going to prevent 10 or 100 infections in the future and save Kansan lives,.


“So even though the kids do OK with the virus, we don’t want them spreading it.”


By minimizing the spread of the virus today, we are minimizing the amount of people who may possibly catch it. But, because of the impact of the virus, the economy is slowing — including in agriculture.


“When a virus like corona shuts down the second largest economy in the world, i.e. China, it’s going to have a huge impact on our agricultural exports,” Marshall said. “For all practical purposes, their economy has been shut, so it’s really slowed down the implementation of the trade agreement.”


Because the economic pillars in the U.S. were strong before the virus hit, the impact of the virus was lower than it could have been. But because of the negative impact upon the farmer, Marshall said, the government might need to help farmers with another market payment this summer. He is hoping to continue to grow markets for farmers to sell to.


“We got the trade agreements done, but unfortunately with the coronavirus, it has really blunted that response,” he said. “So I think what the farmers can do is what Kansas farmers have always done — work hard, raise the best crops we can and try to make the best choices we can.”