Business, Featured Stories, Food, Local, Main Menu, News, State/Region, Top Stories — April 16, 2020 at 10:58 pm

How COVID-19 Could Impact Local Minnesota Farmers



Since the outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the way that we live, and how we are able to move about our daily lives. You might have noticed that there are certain items missing on the shelves of your local stores. I had the pleasure of being able to interview Commissioner Thom Petersen of the Department of Agriculture.

Commissioner Thom Petersen (MDA)
Commissioner Thom Petersen (MDA)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many citizens have been panicked that there could be a shortage in the food supply in our local stores. With folks having a panicked mindset, they have felt the need to stockpile on essential supplies. During the interview it was mentioned that “we have plenty of food in our plants in Minnesota, running at a good capacity” said Commissioner Petersen. He goes onto saying that “it’s a matter of transportation, delivering, and packaging.” Petersen also mentioned that Governor Tim Walz recently signed into a law ‘an-hour-of-service’, which allows truck drives to drive longer hours.

An issue that has been brought up in recent weeks with the Department of Agriculture, is Minnesota’s trading. Minnesota, is known as one of the larger trading partners in the country and around the world. The Department of Agriculture is going to do what they can to keep those trade lines open.

Within the past five years, farmers have been hit hard financially. In the past year and a half, farmers have started to see a boost in revenue. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a turn for the worst. With dine-in restraunts not being open and not buying 20 blocks of cheese at a time. Dairy farmers are planning on cutting back on production to save money, but still produce enough to fill the demand of buyers.

Commissioner Petersen also mentioned, that Governor Walz. is giving the Department of Agriculture the full order to give loans out to farmers that are being impacted by COVID-19 at a 0% interest rate.

One thing is for sure, Petersen commented: “Farmers are optimists at heart”. Keeping that in mind, our local farmers are hopeful that we will come through to the other end of this thing stronger than ever before.






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