Ontario beef farmers losing $2M a week, COVID-19 could make it worse
WINGHAM, ONT. -- Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers are amongst the many Canadians who have no choice but to keep working.
In Ontario, the stress of heading to the barn is doubled for beef producers.
A lack of processing capacity, ongoing trade barriers and an insufficient risk-management plan, has Ontario beef farmers losing as much as $2 million a week.
Jarrett Johnson raises cattle near Paisley, Ont.
“I could take you for a ride up my road, and there’s eight to 10 barns sitting idle because of all this,” he says.
Beef farmers were meeting with both the provincial and federal governments to try and hammer out a new risk-management plan for the industry.
But that plan is on the backburner with the current COVID-19 outbreak dominating headlines.
Johnson says the combination of the ongoing and current crises could spell the end for many more Ontario beef producers.
“It makes you wonder, if some of the workers get sick in the processing plant, what would happen. We’d be in real trouble,” he says.
In the meantime, food producers from the farm to the grocery store, will keep working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The cows still need to be bedded. They still need to be fed. That work doesn’t change at all,” Johnson says.