Pandemic Impacts on Seed, Labor
Throughout the pandemic, we have occasionally been bringing you updates on the impact of COVID-19 to California agriculture. Here are a few more of those updates courtesy of the California Farm Bureau.
As Americans have renewed their interest in gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers who grow seeds for home gardeners have seen demand increase. Farmers and seed companies say the more-popular seeds include specialty vegetables and herbs, pollinator-friendly plants and crops that grow well in small spaces. Farmers who grow seed for commercial-scale farms say that side of the business has been less stable because of pandemic-related uncertainties.
A new report says the value of most California-grown vegetable crops declined in 2020, as pandemic impacts echoed through markets. In an annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers of a number of vegetables found themselves unable to sell some of their crops, when sales to restaurants or other customers abruptly changed or ended. California remains the leader in U.S. vegetable production.
Local health officials and farm groups continue efforts to provide more COVID-19 vaccinations for farm employees. County Farm Bureaus and other organizations have been helping to arrange vaccination clinics and surveying farmers to gauge local needs. A number of clinics have been held, with more planned once vaccine supplies improve. A two-day clinic in Santa Cruz County provided vaccinations for 1,300 farm employees.
(Source: California Farm Bureau Federation)