MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Although many businesses around the area have been forced to change their hours, or even shut down temporarily, the agricultural industry is still finding ways to stay afloat.
According to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the state’s farmers produced more than $800 million in things like corn, cattle, pigs and even flowers. Since the coronavirus outbreak, many farmers have been committing to helping fill local grocery stores as well as a grocery outlet for residents.
“We’ve picked up a lot of business at our meat shop because people are not being able to get enough meat and stuff like that,” explained Taylor County Farm owner, Phillip Austin. “So, we’ve been pushing a little bit harder to get the local raised meat into the market and getting it out to the public.”
However, this doesn’t mean that the virus hasn’t had any negative impact. Some farmers, like Preston County Little Seven Farm owner Donald Witt, have been forced to shut down parts of his farm for safety reasons.
“Right now, we don’t take any other cattle on the farm and I’m not sending any out,” Witt explained.
Austin even stated his farm and those who work there have been putting an emphasis on health precautions, such as limiting the amount of people entering the market and adding hand sanitizer displays.
To adhere by safety guidelines, some farmers have had to get creative. Pike Mountain Farm owner, Tiffany Rice, explained that they are taking to online ordering and a new ‘curb-side pick up option.’
“We have folks come here, we keep a cooler on the porch with their name on it. They pick up, we sanitize the cooler and wait for the next customer.”