Humboldt County farming expert and entrepreneur Tommy Harwood provides a professional look at the coronavirus pandemic’s impact upon California’s agriculture industry
A farming expert and entrepreneur from California, Tommy Harwood has spoken at length recently on topics ranging from local winemakers’ fight against climate change to how 5G could revolutionize agriculture in the state. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic currently dominating world news, Humboldt County-based Harwood considers the impact of the virus on the local agricultural industry.
“With limited rainfall so far this season already having a significant impact on agriculture in California, the state’s farmers have now been hit with the effects of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic,” says Tommy Harwood, speaking from his office in Humboldt County, located on the state’s far North Coast, around 270 miles from San Francisco.
With farms across California already taking all possible precautions as the virus continues to spread, according to Tommy Harwood, the true extent of the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is yet to be felt in full. “We’re only now seeing the likely extent of the difficulties posed, and which will continue to be posed, by the spread of the virus,” explains the farming expert and entrepreneur.
Difficulties in transporting produce, for example, Tommy Harwood says, even between neighboring counties, is just the start. “The same is true,” the expert goes on, “of transporting essential supplies, all of which are vital to maintaining the agricultural industry, not just in California, but nationally and internationally, too.”
Stricter-than-ever cleaning and hygiene processes are also impacting efficiency and driving up costs, according to Tommy Harwood. Farmers, he says, on the whole, are working hard to combat this, but cannot account for external factors – many of which have shown to be surprising as the coronavirus pandemic has strengthened its hold.
“People have complained that prices have increased at their local grocery stores, for example,” reveals Harwood. “This, however,” he continues, “is not a reflection of increasing costs, nor a simple lack of supply from California’s farmers.”
Instead, says Tommy Harwood, it’s a case of demand outstripping supply as people stockpile food, often unnecessarily. “People are stocking up, which is understandable,” suggests Harwood, “but many are doing so to an extent which is wholly unnecessary, and this is being reflected in what local communities are seeing on the shelves of grocery stores nationwide.”
It’s Tommy Harwood‘s belief that, as things stand, it’s impossible to truly grasp what will eventually become the full extent of the ongoing pandemic upon agriculture, both in California and across the United States. “Truth be told, right now, we ultimately don’t know what the future holds,” clarifies Harwood, “not just within agriculture, but within a huge variety of industries right across the board.”
“As it stands, this is a storm which we must continue to weather,” he adds, wrapping up, “but, rest assured, those of us in the world of agriculture are doing everything possible to tackle the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its spread at every junction.”