PLANT CITY, Fla. — With more than half of their consumers gone, Florida farmers may not be able to survive the impact of COVID-19.
"About three weeks ago we really noticed, all of our dairymen are starting to dump their milk. We see vegetable farmers turning product and they're not going to harvest it because they don't have anyone to sell it to or anybody to help them pick it," Hunter Williams said.
The 17-year-old is a farmer himself. He grew up on his grandparent's farm and knows how hard the agriculture industry can be.
"I grew up on my granny and pawpaw's farm and we had watermelons and soybeans, peanuts, peas and potatoes," Williams said.
Now he's trying to save local farmers who are struggling to stay in business. He's picking up their produce and selling it to anyone who needs food.
"We're trying to bring the freshest product to the consumer that we can. This last week I moved over 5,000 pounds of produce. Going and meeting with the farmers, they were very grateful to see someone stepping up and helping them stay afloat during this hard time," Williams said.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the restaurants and businesses farmers usually sell to, to close. The federal government set aside 16 billion dollars to aid agriculture producers, but many fear the stimulus won't be enough. That's why Hunter came up with a plan to help.
"We put some bumper stickers in each box to bring awareness to the situation. They're helpline get the word out that we need to help save the farms. Let's save the Florida farms," Williams said.
While the U.S. may not see a food shortage during the pandemic like other countries, fresh food is going to waste and some farmers could go under.
Hunter says he'll be selling produce until farmers are back on their feet. If you'd like to help local farmers in your area this website will match you to a farmer near you.
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