COVID-19 Impacts California Farms, Forests, and 4-H
Here’s a roundup of a few stories about California agriculture courtesy of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
Lost or disrupted markets, plant closures and other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic add extra layers of uncertainty for California farmers and ranchers as peak harvest season approaches for a number of crops. A food distribution system composed of many different channels continues working to reconfigure itself to match supplies with demand--including increased demand at food banks from people who have lost income due to the pandemic.
Some work to prevent California wildfires has been scaled back due to the pandemic, but government agencies say they're maintaining other efforts to reduce fuel loads in the state's forests. The U.S. Forest Service suspended controlled burns, but CalFire says all its fuel-reduction methods remain available. The California Farm Bureau says timber operations, grazing, mechanical brush clearing and other tools can all reduce wildfire threat.
Cancellation of many county fairs around California due to the pandemic will have ripple effects for participants in youth and junior livestock events. Students who raise animals to show and sell at a fair often use the proceeds for college savings or to reinvest in future projects. County fairs that have already canceled are looking at alternatives, such as online sales, or making other arrangements for the students to sell their animals.
(Source: California Farm Bureau)