TOPEKA — Mark Pringle has seen the self-sufficient mindset of many Kansas farmers and their families challenged by COVID-19 as the virus disproportionately impacts rural communities.
Pringle is a fourth-generation farmer and the Democratic candidate for the Kansas House in the 13th District. He and his wife, Mary Jane Shanklin, a registered nurse, have watched as communities like theirs in Woodson County cancel fairs and close hospitals, distancing themselves from one another.
“There is this idea, from outside and within some parts our community, that farmers are tough and resilient and can do it all on their own,” Pringle said. “Truthfully, farming was already a very marginal, at-risk business. Now, without many of those face-to-face interactions, we feel pretty much on our own to deal with our problems and that can be frightening.”