After almost a year and a half of COVID-19 many businesses are finally more fully open. The real aftermath is incredible inflation and an inability to obtain many supplies. Due to various supply chain issues, seems like everything must be ordered and shipping is also delayed. It has affected everything, pallets, shipping containers, chemicals, equipment repair parts, PVC, wood products, metal products etc. Almost all basic supplies needed for agriculture are delayed sometimes for weeks and prices are quoted at delivery. I cannot remember a time with so many shortages along with the increased cost of everything being purchased. Explanations have been numerous, transportation problems, factory shutdowns, lack of raw materials for productions and lack of labor (all consequences of Covid). Sometimes it’s probably just a way to justify price increases.
The conditions we are facing show how interconnected everything is in many areas. In the last sixty years the economy has built an incredibly efficient system in which products are available from all over the world rather quickly without a lot of effort, think Amazon. The US also exports a lot of our agricultural products all over the globe and have become very dependent on these sales for our livelihoods. However, due to our reliance on other countries for many manufactured goods and raw materials there is no contingency plan if something happens overseas. All it takes is not having one piece and whole process comes to a standstill. We have all heard about 3rd world countries in which many food products never make it to market because of mainly logistical issues. Similarly, a farmer will not have product to sell if he doesn’t have the tools to enable him to produce. As all resources are limited and costs skyrocket, it is indeed extraordinary that farmers and ranchers can continue to produce a product and make enough profit to survive. These price increases haven’t seem to have trickled back down to the farm level, costs of production are up but prices paid for the farm products are at best stable. A much more daunting task to survive than a few years ago. Resilience is probably the only explanation as to why most of us are still here.
Lastly, a reminder to everybody that Madera County Farm Bureau will be holding a Harvest Safety training class in July. It is a one of the services that MCFB provides to its members. As we approach our busy harvest season it is always a good idea to refresh everyone on basic safety rules.