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Farmer Sentiment Plummets as Coronavirus Concerns Rise

FARMERS FEELING INCREASING ANGST WITH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. The pandemic consists of two legs, a health crisis and an economic crisis, That double doze is taking its toll on everyone, including salt-of-the-earth farmers.
Perdue University's 'Ag Economy Barometer' measured plummeting farmer confidence amid dropping commodity prices and sophisticated markets falling into disarray.
In Holland market disruptions have caused the Tablestock ('Ware' or eating) Potato prices to dive.
Similar market upheaval in the UK is stressing the potato sector including Ware, Processing and access to Seed Potatoes (https://www.edp24.co.uk/…/nfu-reports-on-potato-problems-du…).
Meanwhile, a thoughtful article in 'Scientific American' offers assurance for the stability of mechanized crops like wheat and rice. However, labor intensive specialty crops like fruits and vegetables appear most vulnerable to market chaos (https://www.scientificamerican.com/…/the-effects-of-covid-…/). Caleb, Megan & Jim

"The Ag Economy Barometer plummeted in March, dipping 47 points (28%) from a month earlier to a reading of 121. The point drop was the largest one-month fall in the life of the index, which dates to October 2015. Declines in agricultural commodity prices and concerns about the coronavirus crisis impact on the U.S. economy and agricultural sector weighed heavily on farmer sentiment in March. This month’s decline in the barometer erased the sentiment improvement that took place this past fall and winter and leaves the index unchanged from its September 2019 reading…

"Farmers’ concerns about a deteriorating agricultural business climate were also evident in their responses regarding possible capital investments in machinery, buildings and farmland. The Farm Capital Investment Index, which is focused on investments in machinery and buildings, fell 18 points to an index value of 54, its lowest reading since June 2019 when the Midwest was buffeted by too much rainfall and widespread crop planting delays. When asked for their views on farmland values, the percentage of farmers expecting farmland values to decline in the year ahead jumped from 13 percent in February to 28 percent in March."

Farmer Sentiment Plummets as Coronavirus Concerns Rise

Although the Ag Economy Barometer dipped slightly, there was a relatively large sentiment shift among ag producers as they were noticeably more pessimistic about current conditions on their farms and in the U.S. ag economy.


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RAILROAD STATION, MARS HILL, MAINE. Circa 1962. Recently shared by David Sonia…

RAILROAD STATION, MARS HILL, MAINE. Circa 1962. Recently shared by David Sonia. It looks to be a special Field Trip enjoyed by local school kids, next door in Mars Hill. After all, the students are scaling temporary stairs into a 'Bangor and Aroostook' Box Car, not a passenger car.
By the late 1970s truckers had won the Thirty-Year-War and beat the B & A when it came to hauling potatoes. So local tracks were dubiously and unceremoniously ripped up so the rails could be deployed to more lucrative existing lines.
Europe had experienced a severe drought in 1976 and had a disastrously short potato crop. Maine potatoes came to the rescue. Jim worked in Dan Bradstreet's trackside Potato House in Bridgewater during the Winter of 1977. The crew "hung" 50 kg (110 lbs) burlap sacks of potatoes. After hand sewing the bags shut with jute twine, two men hoisted ("histed") the heavy sacks onto another's shoulder and then he staggered into the adjacent B & A Boxcar dumping the sack into neat tiers layered all the way up to the ceiling, 800 sacks per car. The B & A hauled the boxcars down to Winterport where the process was reversed and the sacks were reloaded onto ships bound for the old country.
Now that was hard work. Caleb, Megan & Jim




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BOXING UP ORGANIC SEED ORDERS ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM IN NORTHERN MAINE. Th…

BOXING UP ORGANIC SEED ORDERS ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM IN NORTHERN MAINE. This shot was taken at 10 am on Monday. Caleb Gerritsen, along with his sister, Amy (out of view), are "boxing up" orders, the last step in a long process. Daily, we ship Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes, Organic Vegetable Seed and Organic Cover Crop Seed to customers in all 50 States (www.woodprairie.organic).
Our longtime Postal rural carrier, Larry, delivers our mail around noon then will load up as many of our packages into his car as will fit. At 3pm we take the day's balance and haul them into the Bridgewater Post Office located four miles away. For 30 years we've been the little Bridgewater Post Office's biggest shipper.
Fedex Ground and UPS Ground back up their trucks to this same loading dock door anywhere between 3:30 pm and 5 pm to haul away parcels. This process is repeated six days a week. Caleb, Megan & Jim




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BLAST FROM THE PAST: AROSTOOK COUNTY POTATO HARVEST AS FEATURED ON ‘CBS NEWS S…


BLAST FROM THE PAST: AROSTOOK COUNTY POTATO HARVEST AS FEATURED ON ‘CBS NEWS SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLES OSGOOD.’ Jeff Clark shared this fun episode (6:28) – originally aired back in the 1990s – with Maine humorist Tim Sample giving viewers a tour of how Aroostook County carries out our potato…

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‘A perfect storm’: US facing hunger crisis as demand for food banks soars

A PERFECT STORM: US FACING HUNGER CRISIS AS DEMAND FOR FOOD BANKS SOARS. New reports of a dramatic increase in Americans turning to food pantries to meet their needs. 'The Guardian' reports. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"An unprecedented number of Americans have resorted to food banks for emergency supplies since the coronavirus pandemic triggered widespread layoffs.

"The demand for food aid has increased as much as eightfold in some areas, according to an investigation by the Guardian, which gives a nationwide snapshot of the hunger crisis facing the US as millions become unemployed.

"About one in three people seeking groceries at not-for-profit pantries last month have never previously needed emergency food aid, according to interviews with a dozen providers across the country…

"'I’ve been in this business over 30 years, and nothing compares to what we’re seeing now. Not even when the steel mills closed down did we see increased demand like this,' said Sheila Christopher, director of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, which represents 18 food banks across 67 counties."

‘A perfect storm’: US facing hunger crisis as demand for food banks soars

Food banks are reporting unprecedented demand across the US as millions lose jobs, investigation shows


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We Will Milk Cows (We Will Rock You Parody)


https://www.facebook.com/PetersonFarmBros/videos/vb.430130917009104/229768364867125/?type=2&theater




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The Moment for Food Sovereignty is Now | Civil Eats

"IF YOU CAN FEED YOURSELF YOU CAN QUITE LITERALLY FREE YOURSELF." 'Civil Eats' reports on how our current crisis is being met with a practical and powerful focus on community efforts encouraging folks to start gardens and grow their own food.
It's planting time in most of the country so NOW is the time to get going. The Cooperative Gardens Commission is gearing up to help you by coordinating resources and needs. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Seed companies are also inundated. Late last month, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds closed their website to catch up on a record number of orders, while Johnny’s Seed Company co-CEO Gretchen Kruysman reported that the company has seen a 300 percent increase in orders since early March…

"'People are trying to take responsibility and action to ensure their own health and well-being in the uncertainty in the future,” said Nate Kleinman, the founder of the Experimental Farm Network (EFN). But, he added, that will only truly work if they work for the health of their community as well…

"As with community gardens, urban home gardens can be a temporary solution to give control over food production to the people who most need it, while larger policy shifts are still needed to address systemic inequities.

“'I don’t see a huge distinction, whether we’re talking about community gardens, home gardens, or school gardens—we just really need to localize our food and include more people in these relocalized food systems,' said Penniman…

"They are calling the movement the 'Cooperative Gardens Commission,' and they’re seeking 50 million volunteers to help bring it to life. 'We are focusing on creating a movement built to last beyond the pandemic,' Kleinman said. Unlike Victory Gardens, he added, 'Cooperative Gardens speaks much more to building something together, not just defeating something.'"

The Moment for Food Sovereignty is Now | Civil Eats

From panic planting to cooperative gardens, farmers focused on equity and food justice know that ‘if you can feed yourself, you can free yourself.’


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