California’s agriculture industry faces ‘uncertainty’ amid coronavirus pandemic

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(KTXL) -- During this unprecedented time, those in the agriculture industry who are already dealing with little rainfall this season are now going up against the coronavirus pandemic.

Joe Fischer, the director of the Placer County Farm Bureau, said those he oversees on Placer County farms are taking every precaution.

“We have some little buggy-type cars they drive around, little Kubota RTVs, they don’t ride in that in tandem anymore. One takes that, one takes the quad. Afterwards, we have a strict cleaning regimen that everybody cleans their own equipment and then mutually-used equipment,” Fischer told FOX40.

Another issue with workers is where they come from and now their inability to even get to Placer and nearby counties.

Among other titles, Dan Macon is the president of the California Wool Growers Association. 

“And many of those sheering crews also include workers from other countries, largely from Australia and New Zealand,” Macon explained. 

Fischer said if consumers see an increase in beef prices at their local grocery stores, it is not from lack of supply but instead from some people stocking up when they do not need to.

He added that at each step from farm to fork, there are many people and industries that just do not know what the future holds. 

“The people who are buying our cattle and feeding them or the packers who are buying them for the feeders, they feel like they have uncertainty too. It doesn’t change the fact that they raised their retail boxed beef cutout values over the past two weeks,” he said. “But that doesn’t trickle back to the cow/calf producer. It always takes a long time to get back to our guys here out in the hills.”

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