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Onondaga County Promotes Local Farms During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Brad Klein, WAER News
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Like almost any other industry, farming has taken a serious hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  The annual “Onondaga Grown” Campaign kicked off Wednesday with an added sense of urgency to save the local farms.  Legislature Chair Dave Knapp says some are in real danger of going out of business because of delays in processing and shipping.

“There are so many pieces of the puzzle that each have ripple effects, just backs up the whole system,” Knapp said. “It raises prices in the store, and it lowers prices to the farmer. It’s kind of a death spiral almost.”

Knapp is referring to the significant hit to farming profit margins across the country.  Milk, for example, is one of the primary agriculture products of dairy farmers in the county.  The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates the price of milk is down more than 30%.  Restaurants are crucial buyers of dairy in-bulk, and have only begun the re-opening process.  Locally, some farms have had to scale down from six gallon bags to one-gallon containers, so there is no shortage.  County Executive Ryan McMahon urges residents not to take this surplus for granted. 

“We’re very lucky that we have the food that we make here in our community. We’ve learned a lesson about security for other critical supply chains in this pandemic,” McMahon said. “We need to support the farmers here, and the food security that we have here, so that doesn’t just continue. It grows.”

If you would like to support your local farms, visit onondagagrown.com.  Or, you could look for local producers and the Onondaga Grown sticker in the supermarket.

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Credit John Smith / WAER News