Direct-to-market farmers struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic

John Piotti, president of the American Farmland Trust, a national group that works to protect farms, said farmers need help, particularly direct-to-market farmers who sell to restaurants, schools, farmers markets and other such places.

Posted: Apr 5, 2020 11:15 AM
Updated: Apr 6, 2020 10:35 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Some farmers who sell directly to restaurants, schools and other places that have temporarily closed amid coronavirus outbreak have been left looking for new customers.

John Piotti, president of the American Farmland Trust, a national group that works to protect farms, said farmers need help, particularly direct-to-market farmers who sell to restaurants, schools, farmers markets and other such places.

“It’s clear that this pandemic is really challenging and threatening all of society,” Piotti said. “But our farmers, who are the ones responsible for putting the food on our table, are experiencing particular challenges and they need our help.”

Greg Gunthorp raises pigs, chickens, ducks and turkeys in LaGrange, Indiana, and sells them to places such as restaurants, universities and amusement parks.

“We’ve spent 20 years building these markets, and that literally just blew all up last week,” Gunthrop told The Indianapolis Star.

Gunthorp predicts that his customer base has decreased to less than 20% of what it was before.

He plans to sell directly to consumers and is using his website to promote his products.

“Businesses and farms that are going to be successful through this are going to have to make more changes in weeks than most businesses have to make in years,” Gunthorp added.

Heather Spray and her husband have a farm called Joy Lane Produce in southeast Illinois.

They also produce greens at their greenhouse.

About 85% of their business is local restaurants, but most are now closed.

Last week, Spray’s husband tried selling greens outside of a restaurant that normally buys from them, hoping to appeal to people getting take out.

But Spray said the farm’s sales are less than half of what they normally would be in recent weeks.

“If small local restaurants can’t get going in the next few weeks, I’m not sure how long they will be able to keep their doors open,” Spray added. “And if they don’t make it, then we will have to pick that business up elsewhere or shift our market strategy.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 76522

Reported Deaths: 3086
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16194731
Lake7742281
Elkhart495586
Allen4040163
St. Joseph361083
Hamilton2887104
Vanderburgh205313
Hendricks1943108
Cass18069
Johnson1794119
Porter136239
Clark130750
Tippecanoe124511
Madison103066
LaPorte93530
Howard92065
Kosciusko87212
Floyd82249
Bartholomew82147
Marshall79423
Monroe76732
Delaware76052
Vigo71411
Dubois71312
Boone69746
Noble69029
Hancock68839
Jackson5975
Warrick58830
Shelby56828
LaGrange56610
Grant53130
Dearborn51628
Morgan48934
Clinton4504
Henry41820
Wayne38810
White37711
Montgomery36021
Lawrence35727
Harrison35224
Decatur34232
Putnam3218
Daviess27920
Miami2772
Scott27310
Jasper2572
Greene25434
Franklin24715
DeKalb2384
Gibson2334
Jennings22812
Steuben2153
Ripley2138
Carroll2003
Fayette1957
Perry18713
Posey1800
Starke1807
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Wells1782
Fulton1732
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Jefferson1662
Knox1640
Whitley1566
Tipton14912
Washington1441
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Clay1315
Huntington1273
Randolph1274
Newton12110
Adams1172
Owen1051
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Rush894
Pulaski821
Fountain762
Brown752
Blackford662
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike620
Vermillion590
Parke551
Switzerland530
Martin500
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0208

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 104248

Reported Deaths: 3734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18965531
Cuyahoga13869512
Hamilton9844259
Lucas5512326
Montgomery448998
Summit3667224
Butler303364
Marion294245
Mahoning2623256
Pickaway240042
Stark1904142
Warren185039
Lorain183177
Columbiana168360
Trumbull1563110
Fairfield143232
Delaware136519
Licking134551
Clark121315
Lake114642
Wood109058
Clermont96211
Medina95936
Miami86839
Tuscarawas79714
Allen79446
Portage77664
Greene73012
Mercer64113
Belmont62726
Richland61912
Erie61028
Ashtabula57746
Geauga56144
Wayne55459
Ross5094
Madison50310
Darke41429
Huron4115
Ottawa40426
Sandusky39917
Hancock3973
Athens3612
Holmes3316
Lawrence3180
Auglaize2756
Union2731
Scioto2591
Muskingum2481
Jefferson2403
Seneca2344
Shelby2154
Knox2147
Preble2122
Putnam21217
Washington21122
Coshocton1967
Champaign1882
Morrow1792
Crawford1775
Hardin17512
Clinton1716
Highland1692
Logan1672
Ashland1553
Fulton1551
Defiance1544
Wyandot1519
Brown1502
Perry1483
Williams1373
Fayette1240
Henry1222
Hocking1229
Guernsey1197
Carroll1135
Monroe9418
Pike800
Jackson770
Gallia741
Van Wert732
Paulding700
Adams642
Meigs580
Vinton322
Morgan300
Harrison261
Noble170
Unassigned00
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