California Agriculture Distances but Still Delivers
In fields, orchards and vineyards around California, farmers and their employees have been observing new social-distancing protocols to avoid spread of the novel coronavirus. Training sessions have been held to reinforce the need for additional precautions. Where necessary, farmers have adjusted operations to allow for distancing. Hand washing and other sanitary procedures are already routine to ensure food safety.
As people hunker down and cook more meals at home, they've been buying more beef. That has led to surging demand, particularly for hamburger. But demand for higher-end cuts has suffered, due to restrictions on restaurants and on export sales. The turbulent markets, combined with dry weather in recent weeks, have left cattle ranchers facing complicated decisions about how to manage their herds and when to send animals to market.
The closure of most retail florists and postponement or cancellation of public events and weddings has caused flower sales to plummet. Flower growers say they saw demand fall by 90% or more after stay-at-home protocols took force. The California Cut Flower Commission says at least one large farm has closed permanently. Others have suspended operations or are trying to find new outlets for their blooms.
(Source: California Farm Bureau Federation)