Farmer taking it ‘day by day’ as he financially recovers from pandemic
By Lydia Nusbaum | August 21, 2020 at 8:24 PM CDT - Updated August 21 at 8:24 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Hundreds of farmers are grappling with the financial ups and downs during the pandemic. Garrett Henry, the owner of H3 Cattle, is one farmer who is recovering after losing thousands of dollars as a result of the pandemic.
“It definitely was very stressful, difficult time for me,” Henry said. “So anytime that you lose that kind of money it puts you in a bad position with with your lender.”
Henry struggled to sell his cattle earlier this year when processing plants slowed down. This created a backlog of cattle across the country waiting to be processed.
“So my cattle had to sit there and wait and wait till I could get them sold,” he said.
This drove down the demand for cattle and prices.
“Most people see the prices at the store and see how high they got during this pandemic and they think that ‘hey, the farmers raking it in.’ In reality the packers are the one that’s that’s making all the money,” Henry said.
And Gov. Kay Ivey awarded $26 million from the CARES Act to provide grants to farmers and processors affected by COVID-19. Funding will be used to establish the Alabama Agricultural Stabilization Program (AASP). No funds may be utilized for salaries, building projects or capital improvements.
“It’s not going to make anybody whole, but it may be that little extra bit that get some over the hump and let some plant another crop or grow another note another group of calves next year,” said ALFA Director of Agriculture Legislation Preston Roberts.
Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Rick Pate said this will provide continued support for farmers who need the help.
“Because of these men and women, our food supply chain is safe, abundant and sustainable. This program was a collaborative effort between our department and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Poultry & Egg Association, Alabama Agribusiness Council, and other agriculture stakeholders,” Pate said.
“I think through this program that the governor has released a few weeks ago, it really shows how how supportive she is that that we see that our farmers get the help they need and deserve,” Roberts said.
Henry plans to apply for the grant as they work to overcome difficulties.
“Most likely, it’ll go to help pay loans or debts that I’ve incurred over the last couple of months because of the pandemic,” he said. “And so we just have to take it one day at a time and just do the best we can.”
Applications for the grants will become available in the following days and weeks.
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