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Florida blueberry farmers feeling impacts of COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 on Florida blueberries, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in on April 03, 2020

Waldo, FLA- — It’s the peak of blueberry season in Florida and farmers statewide have picked over four million pounds of blueberries, but now farmers are concerned retailers won’t be purchasing their fruit.

“So, a few weeks ago, you know we thought like everyone else people would stay home for a couple weeks and we would be over it and things would be back to normal," said Brittany Lee, Florida Blue Farms.

Now with a statewide 'Stay at Home Order,' farmers like Lee are starting to feel the impacts.

“You know it’s difficult for growers because as coolers are backing up, the prices are dropping and we might not even know what the price is going to be if we are going to be able to cover the cost of the picking and packing, much less make anything back toward our growing costs," Lee said.

Prices of non organic blueberries (USD)  in the US market, origin Florida.

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Florida Farm Bureau President, John Hoblick said the closure of restaurants, schools, hotels and tourism has a trickle-down affect on farmers.

“Then couple that with an influx of products being imported every day, primarily from Mexico this time of year, has a big impact on supply-side in Florida agriculture right now," Hoblick said.

Lee and Hoblick said the best way to support farmers is to make sure you are buying Florida grown fruit and vegetables.

“It’s important now more than ever that we have a food source in America and we allow Florida growers and America growers to feed our nation, so if you don’t see a product in your grocery store it’s important to ask for it," Lee said.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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