Farmers are dumping produce due to low demand
It is very apparent the shutdown has had an enormous effect on the economy and will continue to wreak havoc the longer it goes. One of the groups that is facing enormous losses, especially from the uncertainty, is farmers. With closed restaurants, farmers are feeling the squeeze from low demand and are having to dump produce.
In Wisconsin and Ohio, farmers are dumping thousands of gallons of fresh milk into lagoons and manure pits. An Idaho farmer has dug huge ditches to bury 1 million pounds of onions. And in South Florida, a region that supplies much of the Eastern half of the United States with produce, tractors are crisscrossing bean and cabbage fields, plowing perfectly ripe vegetables back into the soil.
The closing of restaurants, hotels and schools has left some farmers with no buyers for more than half their crops. And even as retailers see spikes in food sales to Americans who are now eating nearly every meal at home, the increases are not enough to absorb all of the perishable food that was planted weeks ago and intended for schools and businesses.
This is leading to massive losses but also massive waste.
The nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, estimates that farmers are dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk each day. A single chicken processor is smashing 750,000 unhatched eggs every week.
Farmers in Minnesota have seen a 25% drop in prices for agricultural products. Some farmers in Minnesota will try to sell directly to consumers or find some ways to cut costs but they admit it will be hard to change their routines. The truth of the matter is, most farmers are going to lose money, especially if the shutdown goes on for much longer. Some farmers, especially smaller ones, might completely get out of business if they cannot weather the storm.