Ripple effects of COVID hit Washington wheat growers
The impact of coronavirus on agriculture has varied commodity to commodity. For the wheat industry, it has been more subtle and in some cases delayed.
Washington Association of Wheat Growers executive director, Michelle Hennings says that officials are conducting spot checks on some farms to make sure they are following state mandated COVID-19 protocols. Hennings claims the safety steps implemented by the governor’s office took a one size fits all approach for ag in Washington, which does not work.
“We pointed out that drylands wheat farmer are not as labor intensive as irrigated fruit and vegetable farms, and our members typically employ between two and five employees,” Hennings adds. “The wheat farmers generally don’t work next to each other, they have one person in the combine, one person in a tractor and bank out wagon, one person in a semi, and a lot of these are family farms that are within the same household.”
Farms that do not comply with the proclamation are subject to a fine of up to $10,000 dollars.