Before the whole world was turned upside down, the farmers had a hard time until the trade deal went through with China. The US Department of Agriculture announced phase one of the $15.5 billion to boost America’s food supply. Three sources who are engaged with the matter confirmed it was due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Farmers who produce meat, dairy, and other plants and crops are having a difficult time where many contracted the virus. This is leaving many of the shelves in stores coming up short on their supplies.
With the continuing of all that we are witnessing, there will be a shortage of food worse than what we have now. There aren’t enough people to keep the cycle going, and the majority of the hold up is at the processing plants.
Thousands of gallons of milk had to be disposed of due to the plants shutting down. All of the milk would have spoiled before it could have been tended to. Since milk goes bad quicker than the rest of the food sent by farmers, it would be the first to leave empty shelves inside the stores. Many people became outraged at how many gallons of milk were lost.
Meatpackers do not have the workers needed to package, store, and deliver. The cattle farmers are held up just as if it is an assembly line. And those who plant, harvest, and deliver crops are running into the same issues. With the country put on hold, there is no one available to work.
From the $5.5 billion, the ranchers, farmers, and other support measures will receive the money to compensate for their losses. A portion of the funds in which Congress also approved in the $23.5 billion stimulus package will be tacked in with some USDA funds to help the farmers.
The USDA is expected to give a plan on how the money will be divided and spent to salvage all that has happened. More money is expected to come in July to help ease the pressure on the farming industry.
Andrew Walmsley, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, which is also America’s biggest farmer trade group, announced, “It’s not enough to cover all of agriculture, but we see it as a first step. We expect there will be more aid going forward.”
The USDA did not give any comments to reporters, but Walmsley said the money will be dispursed within a few weeks.
For many years, farmers were taken for granted. It is in times such as these where the entire world knows how important the farming industry really is. Once again, it is always sad to see it take a tragic event to make people realize this.
There was a time when many farmers wanted to sell their properties and just give up. Many were born into this lifestyle, and it is all they know. The disruptions to the supply chain have caused a rude awakening across the globe. This proves farmers are the real backbone of America. Without them, many of us do not eat.
Some of the popular products such as Smithfield Foods, which is the world’s largest pork processor, announced recently they were going to shut down an American plant. They stated the plant would be closed indefinitely because many of their workers contracted the coronavirus. The company warned America it was “moving perilously close to the edge in supplies for grocers.”
This would put America even more at risk as the food sent from plants were contaminated with the virus. All of the meat had to be discarded. It goes much deeper than people can imagine.
Within the stimulus package signed into law, there is the CARES Act. There will be $9.5 billion given to the USDA to help livestock farmers and crop farmers who sell their products through the farmers market. This money is also included in the funds which will be distributed as early as this week.
Another source that will be used to ease the pressure off of the farmers is the $6 billion already in the Agriculture Department’s Commodity Credit Corp (CCC). Another $14 billion will be added from the CARES Act into the CCC, but these funds will not be touched until after June 30.
It is hard to imagine the Great Depression was almost a century ago. The CCC was created during that time, and it was what kept the farmers going during the US-China trade wars.