Coronavirus devastates agriculture: undervalued milk, euthanized cattle

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A farmer checks young female pigs on a hog farm in Smithville, Ohio, United States, Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Dane Rhys | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts supply chains across the country, farmers are forced to destroy their crops, throw away milk and throw away perishables that cannot be stored.

With restaurants and schools closed during the national foreclosure, prices and demand for essential agricultural products fell. Farmers who have already experienced a multitude of financial difficulties in recent years – from the U.S.-China trade war that resulted in the closure of dozens of farms to the floods that have destroyed entire crops – are now reunited with an abundance of food they can not sell.

President Donald Trump recently announced a $ 19 billion relief program, called the Coronavirus Food Aid Program, which will provide $ 16 billion in payments to farmers and ranchers and $ 3 billion in purchases of fresh produce. , dairy and meat products for distribution to food banks. The program follows a different aid program that the Ministry of Agriculture has implemented for farmers affected by the tariffs of the trade war.

The president also signed a decree this week demanding that US meat packing plants remain open during the pandemic. The order was aimed at preventing a disruption in the country’s food chain, which is currently very stressed.

Surplus potatoes

Washington state farmers face a billion pound surplus of potatoes due to restaurant and school closings, according to the Washington Potato Commission.

The potatoes are placed in a storage facility at Friehe Farms in Moses Lake, Washington on Thursday April 30, 2020.

David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A farmer holds a seed piece of a freshwater red potato in a recently planted potato field at Friehe Farms in Moses Lake, Washington, Thursday April 30, 2020.

David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Russet Burbank potatoes are placed in a storage facility at Friehe Farms in Moses Lake, Washington on Thursday April 30, 2020.

David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Fresh produce rots as demand dries up

Fresh produce will be wasted during the virus epidemic as supply chains collapse and farmers find it difficult to sell food. Produce Marketing Association estimates at least $ 5 billion worth of fresh fruits and vegetables have already been wasted, as many farmers reintroduce ripe crops to the soil.

Farmers harvest romaine lettuce in Greenfield, California.

Brent Stirton | Getty Images

There has been a drastic reduction in activity in the food service industry as restrictions are implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Many fields like this are plowed due to the cost of harvesting and lack of profit.

A tractor plows under what would have been a spring mix, a popular and widely distributed salad mix, on April 28, 2020 in Greenfield, California.

Brent Stirton | Getty Images

Farm workers practice social distancing and use masks, gloves, hairnets and aprons.

Fresh Harvest farm workers arrive early in the morning to begin harvesting April 28, 2020 in Greenfield, California. They practice social distance and use masks, gloves, hairnets and aprons. Fresh Harvest is one of the largest employers of people using the H-2A temporary farm worker visa for work, harvesting and staffing in the United States.

Brent Stirton | Getty Images

Farm workers with Fresh Harvest wash their hands before work.

A field wash station in Greenfield, California.

Brent Stirton | Getty Images

Pickle-type cucumbers were given to a local cattle farmer as food. Long & Scott Farms cucumbers are normally grown for restaurants, but a large percentage of them are now discarded or rotten in the fields.

A container of cucumbers is dumped on a trailer at Long & Scott Farms on April 30, 2020 in Mount Dora, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Hank Scott, president of Long & Scott Farms, stands in a rotten cucumber field that he couldn’t harvest due to lack of demand on April 30, 2020 in Mount Dora, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Many farmers in South Florida say the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to throw away their crops due to declining demand for produce in stores and restaurants.

An aerial view of a drone from a drone shows farm workers as they fill bins in the back of a truck with zucchini on Sam Accursio & Son Farm April 1, 2020 in Florida City, in Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

A bunch of zucchini and squash is seen after being thrown away by a farmer on April 1, 2020 in Florida City, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Essential farm workers harvest zucchini at Sam Accursio & Son farm April 1, 2020 in Florida City, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

An aerial view of a drone shows John Duffy planting corn on a farm he operates with his father on April 23, 2020 near Dwight, Illinois. In mild, dry weather, state farmers struggle to plant their fields.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Pork in Smithville, Ohio

A Tyson Fresh Meats plant employee leaves the plant on Thursday, April 23, 2020 in Logansport, Indiana.

Darron Cummings | AP

The Department of Agriculture will establish a “coordinating center” to assist livestock and poultry producers affected by coronavirus-induced meat plant closings.

Young female pigs stand in a pen on a hog farm in Smithville, Ohio, Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Dane Rhys | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A farmer checks young female pigs on a hog farm in Smithville, Ohio, Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Dane Rhys | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Dairy farms face weak demand

Estimates from Dairy Farmers of America, the largest dairy cooperative in the country, dairy farmers grappling with low prices and a sudden drop in demand following the end of the pandemic spill up to 3.7 million gallons milk per day.

Dairy cows stand in a paddock on a beef farm in West Canaan, Ohio, Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Dane Rhys | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The herd chief at Stone-Front Farm watches dairy cows in a stable in Lancaster, Wisconsin.

Dairy cows in Lancaster, Wisconsin, Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Alfred Brandt treats his Holstein cows on the dairy farm, which has been part of his family since 1840 and has been affected by industry supply chain disruptions created by Covid-19 in Linn, Missouri.

A dairy farm in Linn, Missouri, the United States, April 28, 2020.

Whitney Curtis | Reuters

Lima ranch owner Jack Hamm watches his dairy cows as they feed in Lodi, California.

A dairy farm in Lodi, California, Thursday April 9, 2020.

Jessica Christian | Chronicle of San Francisco | Getty Images

The photo below shows a cheese factory in Gallipolis, Ohio. The Trump administration wants to purchase milk and meat products as part of $ 15.5 billion in initial aid to farmers shaken by the coronavirus, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Empty chicken coops

Chicken processors facing personnel problems related to the coronavirus have been forced to euthanize chickens due to the reduced capacity of processing plants.

In Albany, Minnesota, Kerry and Barb Mergen stand in front of their now empty chicken coop with a straggler who managed to escape the crew who came just before Easter to euthanize the other 61,000 laying hens in their herd. The Mergens were contract chicken producers until demand collapsed and their chicken owner, Daybreak Foods, decided to cut their losses and euthanize the flock.

Poultry farmers Kerry and Barb Mergen outside their now empty chicken coop in Albany, Minnesota.

Jeff Wheeler | Star Tribune | Getty Images

The 15 lucky hens that managed to escape from the crew who came to euthanize the remaining 61,000 laying hens in the Mergen flock in Albany, Minnesota.

Jeff Wheeler | Star Tribune | Getty Images

Chickens arrive by truck at the Wayne Farms processing plant in Albertville, Alabama.

Chickens arrive by truck at the Wayne Farms Inc. processing plant in Albertville, Alabama, on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

Maranie Staab | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Empty poultry shelves in a whole food market in Vauxville, New Jersey.

Mushroom Farm Loses Restaurant Revenues

In Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania, mushroom producer Matt Sicher is adjusting to changes in his business due to the coronavirus. He lost lucrative income in New York restaurants that closed. As a result, mushroom growers are moving from selling to restaurants to retail and selling to individuals.

Matt Sicher, co-owner of Primordia Mushrooms, owns some Pioppino mushrooms on his farm in Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania.

Ben Hasty | Reading Eagle | Getty Images

Sicher presents yellow oyster mushrooms at the Primorida mushroom farm.

Ben Hasty | Reading Eagle | Getty Images

Beef supply affected by the closure of slaughterhouses

Breeder Martin Davis checks his Red Angus cows and calves after feeding on April 21, 2020 in Paradise Valley near Livingston, Montana.

William Campbell | Getty Images

Ribeye beef steaks sit in a pile in the meat department of a supermarket in Princeton, Illinois on Thursday April 16, 2020.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Colder shelves in the empty meat department await replenishment of beef products during the Covid-19 pandemic at a Walmart Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Danville, Illinois.

David Allio | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

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