FloridAgriculture eNews | May 2020
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses deemed non-essential to shut down, disruptions in the food supply chain created a domino effect across agriculture. Florida farmers and ranchers faced severe challenges because key markets and distribution channels were closed.
The heart and determination of Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers is unmatched to any young group of millennials. These qualities appeared in a response to the crisis. The instinct and passion of one Hardee County Young Farmer and Rancher, Kalan Royal, kicked in.
It all started after Royal received a phone call from fellow YF&R member Samantha Dailey of Marion County asking if he knew of any farms that were selling directly to the public. Wheels were set in motion to develop a grassroots direct to consumer product list.
“Knowing the struggles that American farmers and ranchers already faced pre-COVID-19 with trying to get their products sold and remain in business another year to keep the population fed as they compete against unfair competition from foreign producers, I knew I had to get as many farms on this list as possible,” said Royal. “The state’s farmers and ranchers now were in need of help more than ever in getting their products sold.”
“I kept researching and gathering as much information as I could get my hands on to help out those who give so much of themselves to provide food for this country,” added Royal. “As a result of Samantha prompting me to create a list and valuable input from FFB District 8 Field Representative Eva Webb, we were able to come up with an extensive list to help both consumers as well as farmers and ranchers.”
The grassroots farm to consumer list contains more than 250 farms and produce stands across the Sunshine State that are selling fresh produce and meats direct to consumers and is available on the FFB website.
Since the YF&R list has been created, a number of farm to consumer lists have been made available to the public, including the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Florida Farm to You initiative that connects consumers directly to farms. Producers are able to submit available products via the website and consumers can search by county for various commodities.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program was also recently put into motion to assist agriculture and families in need.
Farmers interested in getting their products listed on various websites can visit the Florida Farm Bureau COVID-19 Resource page for available links.