In the past few months, the US—and most of the world—has transitioned into a chaotic state.  From excessive hoarding to COVID-19 denial protests, Americans are in uncharted territory. Some people are facing unemployment, others are putting their lives on the line every day, and everyone is affected in some way. One affected industry is agriculture; in an unexpected twist, farmers are having to destroy their crops as a result of decreased demand.

Decreased Demand for Crops

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With the nationwide lockdown, farmers have lost their customers. Without hotels, restaurants, and other businesses, the demand for fresh crops has decreased by about 50%. As a result, farmers are destroying their crops in any way possible—flattening vegetables with tractors, pouring milk down the drain, and smashing dozens of eggs. Dairy farmers, forced to milk their cows every day, are drowning in massive amounts of unsold milk.

A decrease in demand for fresh foods has serious implications for farmers: unable to sell their crops, they are facing economic uncertainty as the country delves further into this pandemic. As per Business Insider, farmers are claiming that the USDA failed to buy and redistribute their crops in a timely manner and thus put farmers in a tough position. Despite their own efforts to redistribute crops, farmers are unable to account for all of their leftover crops. Unable to adapt to these changes, they are facing unanticipated losses and possible economic turmoil.

Food Redistribution

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The food surplus that farmers are facing is so large that food banks are overwhelmed and do not have the storage capacity for fresh foods. However, some organizations are helping farmers with redistribution. In Florida, a business called Farm Share collects food from farmers and redistributes it to families in need. With drive-through distribution and makeshift grocery stores, Farm Share is effectively redistributing. In comparison to last April, the company has distributed an additional 1 million pounds of food. However, companies like these rely on volunteers to help with distribution, and with massive amounts of food to distribute, they are searching for local volunteers. Organizations like Feeding America offers volunteer opportunities on their website, including working for food banks, food pantries, and meal programs. As per their website (link:, volunteers can help pack food, work at remote food pantries, deliver meals, or volunteer to raise funds and spread awareness about the organization.


The Future

COVID-19 has thrown the world into a chaotic state of uncertainty. Unable to predict the outcome of the pandemic, people around the world face an unforeseeable future. Not only are people concerned about avoiding the virus, but they are also facing the economic repercussions of a pandemic. Ironically, people are emptying the shelves of grocery stores to stock up on pasta, toilet paper, and canned goods, while farmers are left with millions of unused crops. Becoming familiar with local food banks may allow us to simultaneously help the agricultural industry during this pandemic as well as get fresh foods that aren't always available in grocery stores. In the coming months and years, people around the world will be forced to reevaluate the way they function—from their businesses to their social life—in order to adapt to these new circumstances.