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Oregon farmers dump produce as COVID-19 shuts down big customers

Some large farming operations are being forced to dump their products as restaurants, schools and other institutions cancel orders.

It’s a shame to see, millions of onions dumped in a trench to spoil. Shay Myers is a third-generation farmer on the Oregon-Idaho border who says he is being forced to throw out tons of produce. Owyhee Produce grows enough onions to feed 7 million Americans for a year.

Most of the crop is normally served at restaurants. But that business has all but vanished.

“Even when the restaurants closed we shipped at 100% of normal for two weeks. Now, we’re five, ten, maybe 15% of normal,” said Myers.

That’s become the new norm across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. Because big customers, like restaurants and schools, are closed, many produce makers are having to dump their goods, from onions in Oregon to green beans tilled in the fields of Florida to milk in Wisconsin.
At least for Myers, this is near the end of the onion run, before they’ll plant again here. But it’s hard to throw out a lot of perfectly good produce, Myers said, especially when onions are still coming into the country from Mexico.

“It’s a really painful thing, but more than anything it’s frustrating. I think people need to understand the ramifications of COVID-19 but also of the decisions that they make and the supply chain. What it takes to get your produce from one side of the country to the other, or one side to the state to the other,” said Myers.

If there is a bright spot, some smaller local farms are doing OK. Sun Gold Farm in Forest Grove is doing more pre-ordered delivery and drive-through business, at farmer’s markets. They appreciate the support.

“Farmers markets sales being down just a little bit but still open, it’s more important now more than ever to support that local business, that local farmer because boy we got it, it’s a phenomenal growing season right now,” said Chris Hertel.

And at the Helvetia Farm Market, they’re practicing social distancing but seeing more business, as people cook healthy, for themselves.

“The demand has really increased. People are looking for food that’s local. They want to shop in a place they don’t feel is crowded,” said Geoff Scott.

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Written by KGW News

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  1. Wasted domestically grown food is not good.
    Some smart person should create a business that can perform alternate distribution for situations like this.

  2. People are eating the same amount…just at home so we will need the same amount of food but donated to food banks because people are not working.
    It should be a crime to destroy food that can be used to feed hungry

  3. Farmers won't donate it because there is no money in it for them!
    The most highly subsidized form of employment on planet earth wants MORE FREE GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS!?

    How gullible are people!?

  4. Theres a bigger picture behind the scenes here. They want to create a food shortage. Dont believe all that you hear on main stream news. Use common sense. What does your intuition tell you?

  5. It doesn't make sense it's still the same amount of people eatingthe same amount of food if not more because they have nothing else to do but eat

  6. You mean farmers can't find anyone with a truck to come pick up goods? Farmers can't give produce away to a truck company? I hope everyone realizes how illogical this bizarre story is. I hope everyone calls it out for the bs it is. What a shame that no one is willing to investigate in the media and find the truth.

  7. I DARE TO SAY THE END OF AMERICA IS AT IT END. STARVE US GET US SICK DON'T TAKE CARE OF US. AND LET US DIE IN ANY WAY THEY CAN. KEEP SITTING ON OUR ASSES AND GUESS WHAT…. THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT US.

  8. Take care of donated at the homeless shelters prisons wherever people would have took that food I guess because they're not making any money they just feel
    Throw it away

  9. USA destroy capitalism, wage or starve! Let all people OWN all things and eliminate money so no one is hurting financially! You can see how PANDEMICS destroy capitalism! So admit it and change from our evil ways (wage) to perfect ways: NO MONEY AND NO UNEQUAL WEALTH which will ends world poverty!

  10. The WAGE system called capitalism will NEVER Solve any problems! It only causes worsening problems! So USA should destroy it! Then we can eliminate all the work done presently with automation, but most work is doing something wrong, so eliminate all work! And organize everything differently because we have PERFECT COMMUNICATION WORLDWIDE!

  11. The whole purpose of this pandemic is to force us to eliminate capitalism! Wait and see! They’re opening everything too soon, Trump, and it’s your fault!

  12. Just makes ya want to cry when peeling/throwing out onions.
    Man, I can not tell ya peoples how much milk/dairy I have had
    to throw out in past 15 years because its "dairy."

  13. Why not give to the hungry people than throwing food away, milk, onions and other food being waisted. We understand the impact of the virus on workers and owners but such food should be sent to people who are in need.

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