Farmers gear up for another possible year of challenges because of COVID-19

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VIGO Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — COVID-19 is creating new challenges for Indiana farmers this planting season, but it isn’t stopping them from getting to work.

“We’re essential. We’ve got to get these crops in the ground to get out production where we need to be. COVID-19 is just making us think about how we’re doing things,” said Susan Brocksmith, a farmer in Knox County.

One adjustment farmers have to make is their interactions with suppliers.

“I know that it’s changed how people are delivering feed or seed in their supplies. It has changed how parts are getting delivered. I know a lot of the suppliers for parts an equipment have changed their protocols,” said Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture.

“We saw this virus and the changes that were going to be happening. So we all our seed on the farm that we needed for the spring and all of our chemicals on the farm. That way we limit the contact with other people,” said Hank Irwin, a farmer in Vigo County.

According to Brocksmith, the current value of corn and soybeans has her worried.

“Soybean prices are down to $8, corn prices are down to $3.20, which is the lowest we’ve seen in years. And we’re putting out crop hoping those prices come up but if they don’t that’s going to cause a lot of impact in what we do in the future,” she said.

Although crop value may be low for now, other countries , like China, are still buying in through trade.

“I think Coronavirus has slowed that down a bit, but we’re hearing reports this week and last of significant purchases of grain. Particularly corn, but some on soybeans,” Kettler said.

In spite of a new wave of hardships facing farmers Brocksmith believes there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Mother Nature has a way of bouncing back on everything, so we hope that we as farmers can help make this a great day and show the resiliency of the United States,” she said.

According to Kettler, food processing is being done safely. Protocols are in place to ensure proper hygiene and anyone who may be sick is not working.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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