NewsCoronavirus

Actions

Food processing closures impact local farmers and grocery businesses

KWS Adds Iteris ClearAg Environmental Intelligence to Enhance Global Farming Services
Posted at 9:46 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 08:31:32-04

(WXYZ) — As millions of pounds of meat are expected to disappear from the U.S. food supply chain due to coronavirus, Southeast Michigan farmers and grocery stores are bracing for the impact. Many farmers are fearing bankruptcy. As restaurant sales plunge, grocery store demand is also surging and now there’s food processing problems.

“We just got good on eggs and toilet paper, and paper towel. Now we’re going to face that issue,” said Joe Montgomery, general manager of Johnny Pomodoro’s in Farmington Hills.

“It’s been very hard to get eggs, it seems like every time something gets fixed, something else is going down,” he added.

Montgomery says the grocery store known for their deals and variety will do everything they can to keep up with demands and keep costs down despite rising expenses. In the meantime, farmers are even more troubled that a broken supply chain will keep them from being able to sell dairy, pork and beef products.

“It’s gut wrenching. Most farmers are multi-generational," says Mary Kelpinski, Michigan Pork Producers Association CEO. "They inherited the farm from their parents and want to hand it off to their kids, but they can’t continue if they’re losing money.”

Tyson Foods, which processes at plants in Indiana and Iowa, is having facilities tested after numerous sick calls and links to more than 180 nationwide cases.

While the federal government has passed some assistance for farmers, those here in Michigan are hoping for more given the national losses that are in the billions.

“If there’s no place to process their pigs, they have no market for their pigs. So, pigs they’ve raised since birth have no value.” Kelpinski said.

As for good news down in Coldwater, Michigan, a facility there is still up and running for food processing.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.