COVID-19 News, Fresh/ Table, News May 2020, North America, Trends

Hard choices: Farm leaders say crop dumping is last resort

The reports of some farmers, ranchers or dairy operations dumping their farm commodities is not easy news to digest. But imagine how the farmer feels? Sean Ellis of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation reports in Farm and Ranch News.

When a producer makes the decision to destroy some of their crop, it is their absolute last resort and they do it with a heavy heart, farm industry leaders say.

A lot of producers are donating their crops to food banks and other feeding programs right now but sometimes that isn’t an option due to logistical hurdles or economics, said Pat Kole, director of industry and government relations for the Idaho Potato Commission.

Most of the producers who are currently donating their product to help needy Americans are doing so quietly and it doesn’t make the news, he said. But when a producer makes the difficult decision to destroy their product, it does make the news.

“Farmers would rather sell or donate their crop than see it go to go waste,” Kole said. “Every farmer, every dairyman, every rancher. Everybody that grew up on a farm or ranch or who understands what it means to be in agriculture hates to see food go to waste, particularly the guy who grew the crop or milked the cow.”

Farmers would welcome any ideas people have to put their unsellable product to use, he said, and the IPC and other farm organizations will do what they can to help make that happen.

“Farmers can’t put more of their livelihood at risk, so help them out here,” Kole said. “Help them get it to people in need and we’ll do what we can to help facilitate that.”

The reaction to the coronavirus outbreak has caused a major disruption in the normal shipping channels for major agricultural commodities and that has led, unfortunately, to some farmers having to destroy their product, said Idaho potato farmer Randy Hardy.

Yes, some farmers are having to dump their crop but a lot of others who can are donating their product either directly to consumers or to food banks or other feeding programs, Hardy added.

Read the extensive report by Sean Ellis, published in Farm and Ranch.
Photo: Mountain of spuds discarded by Idaho farmers saved in ‘potato rescue‘| Accuweather

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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