How Coronavirus is Changing the Agriculture Industry
All around the globe, businesses, schools, and other entities are closing their doors to the ever-spreading COVID-19. People are recognizing the severity of the disease and many are taking precautions to halt the spread. The change in human behavior expressed through news articles and on video show signs of desperation to survive, in which people are struggling to find basic commodities and buying copious amounts of certain foods.
So…what exactly is the effect COVID-19 is having on our agricultural industry?
Despite the food and agriculture industry being “critically essential” during this pandemic, it is safe to say the industry is suffering. Due to quarantines, farmers markets are closing across North America, Asian countries have been cut-off from exports, the FDA has announced a suspension on all foreign food facilities, and many agricultural conferences have been postponed or canceled. The demand for fresh produce has surpassed the current supply.
Well, what is being done to support US farmers?
According to the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), the US government is working on a stimulus bill to provide Coronavirus relief to those farmers affected most. The bill would allocate money to livestock producers, specialty crop suppliers, some dairy farmers, and child and emergency nutrition assistance programs, if passed. The FFVA is additionally pushing for the United States Department of Agriculture to provide provisions and relief programs to the specialty crop industry throughout the country.
Is there any way that I can help?
Continue to support local farmers and purchase fresh produce where available. Fresh fruits and vegetables are vital to staying healthy and provide natural boosts to the immune system. Nutrients gained from produce also improves mental health and sleep quality. This can make a huge difference for those of us in quarantine and unable to get outside. As a side note, remember to thoroughly wash your hands before and after visiting the grocery store. Wash your produce before consuming, and keep surfaces clean. Let’s all play our part in halting the spread of COVID-19 and making healthy choices for ourselves and our families.