The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged America's farmers and ranchers. Hear their stories and how they have responded.
More than one year since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, America's farmers and ranchers work through its impact with characteristic resilience and focus on feeding us and the world.
As the physical and financial impacts of this virus moved from cities to rural communities, our producers were faced with new challenges, and some needed to adapt their operations. Thankfully, rural America knows how to come together. We all step up and pitch in. And at Farm Credit, we have continued to work closely with each individual customer.
Hear their stories and learn how they continue to overcome unprecedented circumstances.
Learning to adapt
When Doug Harbach of Schrack Farms needed help making business decisions on how to navigate the pandemic, AgChoice Farm Credit was there to help. Like most folks, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Doug and his business partners’ first concern was for the health and safety of their employees and their families. Their second concern quickly shifted towards how do to take care of cows and continue farming in the face of severe uncertainty. Learn how Doug consulted with AgChoice regularly throughout the pandemic, to keep the business going and their community fed despite the many roadblocks he faced.
Seizing opportunities in spite of hardships
Mario Mazza, vice president and general manager of Robert Mazza, Inc., said understood the need for stay-at-home orders, but they drastically altered the wine, beer and spirits supply chain. However, as hand sanitizer became a scarce commodity in 2020, he saw an opportunity to transition his craft beverage business to create hand sanitizer to help his community. By seizing opportunities quickly and securing a Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan through AgChoice, Mario kept his workers employed through the pandemic.
Looking to the future
The pandemic struck just as Tiffany and Mack Kline, dairy producers in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, prepared to purchase their dream farm. As they pulled into the AgChoice parking lot to sign the closing papers for the farm, they were surprised to find their loan officer standing next to his truck, with all the papers laid out on the tailgate ready for signatures. Thanks to the resilience of Farm Credit employees, these two young and beginning farmers were able to start their future and make the farm their own.
Hear directly from our customers
As the pandemic shut down Congress and in-person meetings, Farm Credit worked to bring the voices of America's farmers and ranchers to them.
To help policymakers and the media understand these challenges and their impact on farms across the country, Farm Credit hosted a series of events: From the Farm Gate. From the heartland to the coasts, take a moment to listen and learn from our farmers as they discuss the various challenges the pandemic brought to farm country.
The first discussion focused on the issues livestock producers face. It featured a cattle rancher, hog producer and poultry farmer. The next discussion explored fresh produce and the impacts on fruit and vegetable producers. From a farmer who had to plow under lettuce because restaurants had closed to a lack of labor to harvest cherries, fruit and vegetable farmers face significant challenges. We brought the voices of a vegetable producer, cherry and apple producer and a family who grows onions and green chiles. The series also featured the impacts the dairy community endured, with three producers sharing their insight. And, as the work and school from home challenged rural families with little or no access to internet, we also explored the need for further investments in rural broadband and healthcare.
Lastly, the food supply chain problems last year left farmers and ranchers with produce and animals on the farm and nowhere to sell them. It also left some grocery stores without enough to sell. The last discussion addressed some of the farm to table issues our director-to-consumer operators endured.