Feast And Famine—How COVID Has Impacted Various Ag Producers
When coronavirus first led to business shutdowns Beehive Cheese didn’t know what to expect.
“April, we saw, we saw one of our biggest months on our website, usually our biggest month is December, obviously, because people are coming to our website to buy gifts. But in April, it was like boom, boom, like, huge numbers. People were buying large amounts of cheese, I hate to say panic buying of cheese, but they were just like, they were stocking up on cheese,” said Katie Schall.
Katie Schall is the marketing director for Beehive Cheese. She said that Beehive started offering larger cuts in January but didn’t expect them to sell like they did.
“We kind of just laughed, like, no one's going to come to our website, buy a five-pound block of cheese. But lo and behold, we received our quarter wheels go out the door, in droves,” said Schall.
Schall said that after April, online sales did decrease but they were still high compared to years past.
In contrast, Bob Rogers with Bonneville Farms was not so lucky with the pandemic hit.
“We've lost some of our retail mom and mom and pop businesses that were buying tomatoes and stuff for hamburgers. And it's made employment a little more difficult to obtain harvest crews and to obtain people to do the work on the farm that we needed to do,” siad Rogers.
Despite these struggles, Rogers was able to market his crops to some large buyers in Iron County and go to more farmers markets.
Rogers was also one of the participating farms in Farmers Feeding Utah, where Farm Bureau bought his crops and donated it to people in need.
“It saved and saved me having to dump or use the excess produce as a livestock feed, you know, and it gives us a source to get it out to work to be used for human consumption,” said Rogers.
Beehive Cheese also offered a similar program to Farmers Feeding Utah for cheese donations to help keep their employees employed called Project Promontory.