NY Farm Bureau: all farms economically impacted by coronavirus

Jamien Richardson

In this Thursday, May 28, 2020 photo Jamien Richardson moves a tray of baby arugula in a crop house at Spear Spring Farm in Warren, Maine. Spear Spring is one of many farms that have seen an uptick in the number community supported agriculture shares sold to customers, most likely as a result to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The New York Farmers Bureau held a press conference Tuesday to talk about the results of a COVID-19 farm survey. Farmers answered questions from finances to healthcare, mental health, federal assistance, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

A majority, 65%, of surveyed farms said they were financially impacted “negatively” or “very negatively” by the coronavirus pandemic. Slightly more than half have applied for financial assistance programs like the Paycheck Protection Plan, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Eighty-four percent said they have a plan in place to train and help employees prevent spread of the coronavirus. The majority said they had not had employees quarantined because of the virus and approximately 75% had no problem obtaining PPE.

What we found with this survey is that no farm was untouched by the pandemic or the economic fallout. All of this underscores the need to continue to invest in our food system while also making health and safety a priority.  Farmers are doing their best to make sure food production doesn’t stop, but we need to maintain the ability to process, distribute, and market what we produce.  As the state and federal governments look toward potential budget cuts and additional COVID-19 assistance, agriculture must be a part of the discussion. It really does take all of us working together to have a strong, sustainable food system that supports the farm community and feeds yours.

David Fisher
New York Farm Bureau

Outside of the survey, farmers who took part in the press conference said there has been a growing demand among people to buy directly from farms. Because many farms are wholesalers, farmers have had to find ways to get products directly to customers by using community supported agriculture (CSA) groups, opening farm stands or selling products online.

A few farmers said that migrant workers from Mexico will be quarantined for two weeks prior to being integrated into the farm workforce.

Watch: New York Farm Bureau’s Press Conference on COVID-19 survey

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