COVID-19 places agriculture industry in a place of uncertainty

CALHOUN COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Farmers across the U.S are facing a new unknown in the agriculture industry.

The ripple effect of COVID-19 is impacting several growers in terms of planting crops and distribution.

It’s not easy being a farmer. So much is out of your control. Too much rain. Not enough rain. But this year, the weather is just one of the challenges.

Howard Fisackerly is the CEO of Penick Produce with Alexander Farms in Vardaman.

In his field, you can find sweet potatoes, corn, and soybean. But that may all soon come to a halt.

“In our area last fall, we had a wet fall and had a hard time getting the crop out because it was so short. We have been wet since last November and we just got into the fields the end of last week,” said Fisackerly.

Due to the threat of coronavirus and rainfall in the area, his production is three weeks behind schedule to bed sweet potatoes for this year’s crop.

And without produce from the harvest, it’ll affect business from local buyers.

“We have a lot of potatoes that are stacking up because the restaurant chains have closed. That has really hurt us in the farming industry not having those contracts, they’ll be short this year,” said Fisackerly.

Not only is he uncertain about the vegetables he’ll put in the ground, but he’s also concerned about whether if he’ll have enough seasonal workers to actually get the job done.

“We’re going to need all our other boys the second week in May to come in and do the actual planting and harvesting. If we don’t get these boys we won’t have a crop,” said Fisackerly.

But his biggest worry stretches far beyond his yield, it’s the rising prices in international trade.

“With the markets, even overseas markets with China, we’re not able to ship our grains to the other countries too. So it’s affecting these prices on us too and it’s devastating to some of the growers,” said Fisackerly.

All farmers should stay updated of the severity of the situation from the virus.

Categories: Coronavirus Information, Featured, Local News

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