The last couple of years have already been difficult for farmers because of trade wars. Farming income has been down over past decade. Farmer suicides have increased.
Farming in the 21st Century
Farmers’ biggest challenges today are having enough outlets to sell their products. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected where they can sell their fruit and vegetable produce as they have taken a major loss with the closing of schools and restaurants. Farmers may need to leave their crops rotting in the field.
Farmers are also worried about not having enough pickers. 90% of pickers in the United States come from Mexico. Many are undocumented workers as well. COVID-19 is making it hard for pickers to get Visas. Farmers have always argued there should be more flexibility with Visas in the H2A program.
In normal times, 17% of all meat & poultry is sent overseas.
There may be a food surplus, which would lead to prices dropping. There’s already a very small margin for farmers. A surplus will make things even more difficult.
America will be more and more reliant on food from overseas.
Don’t Worry About Supermarket Shelves. Worry About Farmers.
The New Republic, March 30, 2020
Reporter: Miranda Green