Ongoing Effects of the Pandemic on California Agriculture
Throughout the pandemic we have regularly brought you stories of how various agricultural groups are faring during this difficult time. Here are a few more of those stories courtesy of the California Farm Bureau.
With tasting rooms closed due to the pandemic, many California wineries struggle to adapt. Some small wineries say their business has declined to “virtually zero.” Others have found success for online sales and tastings conducted via videoconference. Smaller wineries in particular tend to depend on tasting-room sales. Larger wineries that sold wine primarily through restaurants have suffered more than those that focus on retail sales.
Stress related to the pandemic has affected the mental health of farmers and farm employees. A survey by the American Farm Bureau says two-thirds of farmers and employees reported mental-health effects since the pandemic began. Among rural adults more generally, more than half reported effects. Farm Bureau has advocated for improved mental-health care in rural communities and offers resources on a website, farmstateofmind.org.
Efforts to grow the local-meat business in California have been hampered by a lack of processing facilities. A group of 16 ranchers in the Bay Area has tackled the problem by forming a cooperative. The Bay Area Ranchers Cooperative wants to raise enough money to purchase a mobile facility to process animals for local sale. The co-op president says demand for local meat has picked up during the pandemic, but there aren’t enough small meatpackers to serve that demand.
(Source: California Farm Bureau Federation)