Coronavirus impact on farmers



People across the nation are seeing impacts on their businesses due to the coronavirus, and that includes farmers.

Tomatoes growing at Southside Farms in Chocowinity.

Shawn Harding owns Southside Farms in Chocowinity.

He’s been a farmer for thirty years.

Tourism is a big part of it,” said Harding.

“We’ve got a lot of farms in our state that do agri-tourism. They’re just shut down. Schools are shut down, people are not coming to the farm.”

Harding says with people panic buying, grocery stores are in need of more supplies than usual.

He hopes this helps farmers out.

“It could be good for us, as many grocery stores are struggling to keep up and keep their stock,” said Harding.

A tractor sitting at Southside Farms.

Another farmer noticing setbacks is Ted Van Essendelft.

He’s a flower farmer, and owns Pantego Blossoms. It’s a business his father started fifty-one years ago.

Like Harding, he too is worried about the future of his farm.

“All ceremonies have been canceled,” said Van Essendelft.

“Weddings have been canceled. Anything flowers are mainly used for has been canceled…you know even past May. Since it is a perishable item, we can’t hold it.”

For now, farmers are waiting to see what the future holds.

Van Essendelft says this pandemic is nothing like he’s ever seen.

He and Harding both believe that it’s an obstacle that farmers can handle.

Our farmers are resilient. We’re going to figure it out, and we’re going to get it done,” said Harding.

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