BILLINGS — Agriculture has been labeled a critical industry in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, allowing businesses to continue operating as usual amid current and potential restrictions created to stem the spread of the virus.
Montana John Deere dealers are responding to the Trump Administration’s request to donate protective masks in support of health care facilities. The state’s 22 dealers are partnering to become collection points for protective masks to be donated to the medical community.
“Frontline Ag, RDO and C & B are all the Deere dealers across the state of Montana,” said Tim Schultz, C & B Operations, LLC store manager in Billings. “We've decided to help support the medical industry as we have drop off locations for the N-95 and all other masks. The Montana State Hospital Association is now accepting any masks that can be used in medical industries.
He says it's a great opportunity to help because those in Montana's ag and construction industries have these protective masks that are in short supply.
“On the ag side of it, of course, we have a lot of our ag people that are in dusty conditions,” said Schultz. “They have these masks to help protect their lungs when they're putting wheat in and out of bins and grain in and out of bins. A lot of our farmers do a lot of their own painting on some of their own equipment. Certainly, in the in the construction industry, there's a lot of needs in dusty conditions where these contractors will have these masks. And this drop off isn’t just the agricultural and construction folks. This is where we have an opportunity to really help our medical industry.”
He says it's one of those times when we all need to ask what can we all do to support the greater cause.
“I mean, that's what agriculture is all about,” said Schultz. “We're about helping neighbors and about keeping the support and the industry going. So, that’s reaching out into the communities in the medical field too. Hopefully, you know, we can make a difference. That's all we're after.”
Individuals or companies who are able to donate are being asked to please put the masks in plastic bags, then place in the drop-off boxes located at your local John Deere dealer. For questions about donating or to find the store nearest you, visit the John Deere store locator for locations and phone numbers.