During this era of deeming industries as “essential,” agriculture nears the top of business operations that must keep going despite a pandemic.
But the need to feed and fuel the world fell into challenging times, including in Indiana, as meat processing plants were briefly shutdown and ethanol plants idled as fuel demand waned.
Businesses like agricultural lending cooperative Farm Credit-Mid America had to react.
“We knew we had to keep our doors open,” said Natasha Cox, regional vice president at Farm Credit-Mid America.
The COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown pummeled multiple ag sectors and hit just weeks before Indiana farmers were ready to start planting the 2020 crop.
“We had to continue to inject liquidity and access to critical capital to the market,” said Cox, who joined Gerry Dick with Inside INdiana Business for this week’s Ag-Bio-Science podcast presented by AgriNovus Indiana.
Following a challenging year in 2019 where crop conditions were poor and grain prices were low, farmers hoped to see a turnaround.
“We came into 2020 with optimism that we’d have good yields and open markets…. then COVID-19 hit,” said Cox.
While Hoosier farmers got their crops planted and a majority are above average condition, according to USDA data, rural America is still struggling with access to broadband, limiting farmer’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.
“As farmers continue to dance in this space of innovation and technology and sustainability, we need to have access to the tools and especially the broadband that we need. There are still dead spots out here. I’m in one in Benton County,” said Cox, who also farms with her husband.
What does it take to work for Farm Credit? “First and foremost, people that have a heart for serving rural communities,” explained Cox, who went into detail in the Ag+Bio-Science podcast.
Each week, host Gerry Dick conducts conversations with leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in Indiana’s agbioscience sector, discussing the confluence of food, agriculture, science and technology.
The full podcast will be available Monday morning. Click here for more information on how you can listen.