CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Experts warn the farm industry could lose billions of dollars across the country because of COVID-19.
From meat processing plants slowing down or closing to restaurants shutting down, thousands of pigs and cattle have yet to be processed.
Commercial agriculture expert Teresa Steckler says it’s creating a chain reaction, including “an increase in market prices at the store, increased prices at the sale barns, because there’s just nowhere for these cattle to go right at the moment.”
It’s an issue lawmakers are trying to address in Washington. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) signed onto a bipartisan letter to congressional leaders asking for more funding for the USDA to help pork producers who may be forced to euthanize livestock.
But expert Travis Meteer says the recovery effort will require more than help from the federal government.
“I don’t think we’re going to really rely on government to solve this problem,” Meteer says. “Unfortunately, I think farmers have to be inventive and figure out solutions of their own.”
Some of those creative solutions have included donating surplus to food banks to help struggling families.
Meteer suggests consumers can give back in turn by shopping for their meat locally.