Small Farmers Face Covid-19: Positive Responses for a Challenging Market


| 4/15/2020 9:44:00 AM


 

I hope you are doing everything that you can to be safe during these times. Our farm has seen some negatives and positives with the pandemic happening and I wanted to update on some real issues that are happening to us. If you have followed my writing on MOTHER EARTH NEWS, you know that we run a small business, Buchanan's Barnyard, in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. We offer geese, ducks, chicks, eggs, goats, and an array of animals. We recently added a milk-cow (autumn) and honeybees. A lot has happened since the pandemic kicked off and here are some brief issues that we have faced. I'll cover the negatives first.

The Negatives

Inability to ship. Most of our income for our farm comes from live shipments. Right now, hatching eggs and live chicks, goslings, or ducklings is the majority of our income during the spring. This hasn't really impacted our operations but we are trying to combat this with straight off the farm curbside pickup and more local sales.

Increase in livestock theft. Since the announcement in early March, more of our local producers have seen theft happening and it is not pretty. People are wiping out entire coops and getting goats out of other's fields. We have since installed locks and cameras to help ease the anxiety of this happening to us. 



New owners and hatcheries have ran out of stock. While this shouldn't be an issue, it is. I am very happy that more people are getting into poultry, but at the same time, my business inbox has been flooded with questions regarding basic chick care and new owners are losing chicks at an increased rate. This in turn depletes hatcheries of stock. If you are new to raising chickens, please make sure that your chicks have a heat source. This is the biggest issue that I have personally answered about 20 times this week. Most people asking have not even bought chicks from us but from a larger retailer. 





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