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Who’s Your Farmer? Minnesota Farmers and Consumers Are Taking Out the Middleman

With legions of restaurants and bars closed or operating in a very limited capacity, demand for wholesale ingredients from local farmers has plummeted. For this reason (and others related to processing, shipping, and logistics), farmers in Minnesota and beyond are struggling to find markets for their products, many of which come from livestock and seeds purchased long before the term “coronavirus” became standard vocabulary.

People who work in agriculture aren’t the only ones experiencing shifts related to food right now either. The restriction of restaurant dine-in options is immediate and obvious to consumers, but grocery shopping has also changed—and not just because there are now masked figures in every aisle. Meat prices are fluctuating due to virus outbreaks in meatpacking plants, oversupply and restricted access to processing facilities, and in the time leading up to statewide quarantine and the first weeks of shutdown, many Minnesota grocery shoppers encountered shelves that had been picked clean. No one knew what was coming and people were preparing for the worst.