Coronavirus pandemic putting Indiana farmers in a pinch

Denny Frey.JPG
Posted at 9:09 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 21:09:45-04

Indiana farmers are feeling the effects of the state and nationwide shutdowns brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Farmers have crops they can't sell, since both the economy is strained and spending is down.

Healthcare workers and first responders have become our country's heroes, the face of those fighting the pandemic. But Denny Frey thinks another group deserves consideration.

"There are a lot of considerations that need to be given to farmers right now, too," Frey said.

Farmers across the Hoosier state are feeling the pinch, too. As supply continues to go up, the demand just isn't there.

People are out of work, industries closed so spending has been down.

"Disappointed in the fact that having to market their product at this point at the price levels the market level is at," Frey, Shelby County Co-Op CEO, said. "Causing a lot of concern this year about getting the cash flow to be what it needs to be to pay for their inputs."

Frey has worked in the agricultural industry for over 40 years. He runs the Shelby County Co-Op, serving over 600 farmers in eight surrounding counties. Frey said the pandemic is forcing farmers to sit on their crops they can't move or sell. Right now, they're planting crops not knowing who the buyers are or what consumption will be.

"Very concerned about basically how long is this going to play out," Frey said. "We are in uncharted territory, no precedent to go by."

It isn't just impacting the food industry.

"Because of the lack of travel, the renewable fuels like soybean oil for diesel has gotten plentiful," Frey said. "The supply of ethanol has gotten at record highs. They've shut their production down. So it has a major effect on our travel industry also."

Frey said they are waiting to see if the government will issue any type of subsidy or program to help farmers get through this. As it stands, he said there's only financial protection if you weren't able to plant your crops, but that's not the issue right now.