Local farms face severe economic challenges as a result of COVID-19

Press release from Carolina Farm Stewardship Association:

Small and mid-sized farms in the Carolinas are facing severe economic challenges as a result of COVID-19.

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association surveyed farmers in North and South Carolina to quantify those impacts this spring and recently published a report of their findings.

Key takeaways include:

-Weekly sales dropped for three-quarters of farms in the Carolinas, including one-third that lost more than $1,000 per week.

-Some farms say they will be out of business if COVID-19’s effects last through the summer.

-Farms that shifted to online marketing report increased labor and technology expenses are necessary—spending more on labor to sell the same volume of crops.

-Pastured livestock farms report strong demand as consumers seek secure local sources of meat, but the Carolinas’ few independent meat processors can’t keep up with the surge.

-The waiting list for farms to get appointments at some meat processors runs into 2021.

-Federal relief packages thus far fail to address the unique needs of diversified farms serving local food systems. Large numbers of these small and mid-scale local farms will go out of business if they don’t receive support to make up for revenues lost due to COVID-19 in the next federal stimulus program.

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Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

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