(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) Farmers across America are faced with many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent hardship is the closing of several farm plants.
The Smithfield plant in South Dakota had to shut down because 300 of their employees carried the coronavirus. This closing is forcing other plants to re-evaluate how they operate and bringing to question what the next moves are if they do.
The President of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Blake Hurst, commented on many of the issues that farmers are seeing right now.
"People on processing lines at meat plants are getting ill with the coronavirus slowing down the lines. Several plants have closed in the last couple of days, and that is a very very real concern."
Another big concern is the dumping of products.
"Quite a few farmers in Missouri have been required by their co-op and customer to dump milk," said Hurst.
Products sold for restaurants and schools are packed differently and in bulk, and can't be sold to stores. The processing plants for those products are shut down as well and don't have a place to go.
Farmers are also facing a loss of income. The price for pork and beef are lowering almost a third for buyers, but the prices in stores are rising. Several farmers are having to stop production or cut back on only select produce to sell.
In these challenging times farmers all across the country are having to adjust to a new life-style. Figuring out new ways to produce and sell their goods.
"We're working together and people are paying attention to social distancing and really changing the way they do businesses," Blake added. "We'll make it through; but it is a pretty scare time right now."