Farmer Trying to Keep Going

Aleece Landis
Aleece Landis Posts: 6 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Encouragement

I guess I'm just feeling a little stressed and needing to vent.

I understand the medical establishment wanting to "slow" the spread a bit to be better able to "prepare" to support those who need the ventilators and ICU support etc.

I'm in Central Florida and Florida does have more than it's fair share of "at risk" population but at the moment my county hasn't reported many infections (perhaps largely due to not testing.)

Anyway, my concern, I'm a farmer and I sell fresh produce. (My is self employed husband works as a lighting guy doing corporate meetings and conventions so he has no income now and being self employed, I don't think he qualifies for unemployment.) I'm self employed farming, so I'm not unemployed but since most of my customers (restaurants) have had to almost shut down, I have almost no income now either. BUT I still have to keep working or there won't be any food for the future. We have been giving away/donating lots of produce but with all the fear, and many other individual customers being out of work, at this point some of them can't even afford the gas to come pick up produce at the gate even if I'm giving it to them for free.

I'm just hoping this sorts it's self out sooner rather than later. At least we are not going to starve since we know how to grow food. Under normal circumstances I tend to be pretty isolated on the farm most of the time but when the money really runs out and the power/internet providers decided they are not going to keep connections on for free anymore, then the isolation really will become a bit more troublesome.


  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,361 admin

    I understand. Although I'm not a full time farmer (yet), I am self employed. We operate "without a net".... pay both sides of our "payroll taxes" get hit with every fee and tax and get no benefits. But, it seems the bill that is being voted on will consider us "self employed contract or gig workers" and we will get some consideration this time. I just checked the SBA website and there is a form for losses for sole proprietors.

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    Can you offer delivery to people in their homes? Lots of people are wanting that right now, and fresh food is the hardest to get delivered.

    I understand that there is relief for small businesses in the bill they're working on, so hopefully you and your husband can get help from that.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin
    edited March 2020

    @Aleece Landis I feel for you. I would agree with @figsagee. Is there any way that you can offer any sort of delivery? Are you online? Can you work in cooperation with anyone?

    I am glad that your government is stepping up some. I have heard about it up here since we can access a lot of US news coverage here. Our government is doing similar. It is a stressful time.

    Do you have any support for your wellbeing (aside from food, which you stated you have)? This is so very important.

    So far, my husband can still work. If someone shows up sick or the govt decides that they are non-essential (it is farm related), then we have no income aside from the small bit that we would receive from their emergency funding. If things got worse here, creativity would certainly have to come into play. Our ancestors did it. I am sure that we could too.

    We are here for you should you need something. Take some time to breathe today.


  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Aleece Landis If you lived in Southwestern Utah, I would make a permanent food arrangement with you. I have yet to make a farmer connection since I moved here 2 years ago.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,482 admin

    @Aleece Landis no matter what don't give up. There is always a silver lining. Re invent yourself, fresh food box, people could order online and pick-up could be at farm gate or delivered( a delivery charge built in to the food box price) All paid for online, so no money handling and you get paid. If you can't offer everything, maybe you can source other fresh food locally. Join forces with another farmer. List what you grow or you can source on line with a price and people can choose. Alternatively do up a couple's food box or a family food box at a set price. Once people have placed and received an order you can recycle the box that holds the produce. More so now than ever, people realise they need to eat healthy nourishing food, seasonal and fresh. Select 1 or 2 days where pickup or delivery is available and the rest of your time is spent doing what you know and good at. You can even employ your husband to deliver etc. Concentrate on what you can or could do, then BOOM, the world is your oyster! Best wishes and good luck.

  • Alison
    Alison Posts: 179 ✭✭✭

    It's a hard place to be in for sure. We are in a very difficult 'jam' due to the virus also. Is there a social network[s] that you can look through to see if there are other options for sales?

    I'm not in the U.S so don't know what they might be, but if you post some things on FB, Craigslist, Twitter?? Surely there are people who need fresh groceries that need what you produce. Even if its another farmer with animals that need to be fed and want it if there are other disruptions to their supply chain. You may not get the same price but you may get enough to get by.

    What about nursing homes? I know in Australia there is a huge shutdown in our state but fresh produce markets etc are still open. Is there a farmers market close enough for you to go to once or twice a week. I've heard multiple people say they are selling out hours faster than usual and getting higher prices.

    I don't know what may work for you, but there may be an option that can be found to help keep you afloat now and possibly be a secondary avenue for you when this is all finished.

    Take care and try and find some time each day that helps lift your spirits. Maybe if hubby is home now having him help with food production will keep things a bit more upbeat.

  • probinson50
    probinson50 Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    Our family was in the process of purchasing a farm and quickly scaling up a market garden. We are now in limbo with Covid-19 state of emergency in place. This delay, though, is giving us time to revisit our farm business plan in a new light. A strong online presence and market is one of the aspects we are definitely going to pursue for such a time as this.

  • Aleece Landis
    Aleece Landis Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    I've had an online market for years now (on, started with them back when there was a homegrown coop in Orlando before we even moved to the FARM,) but only a few regular customers at any one time. I've been open to the idea of delivery if anyone mentions that they want it but we are out in a kinda rural area and sadly a large portion of the population still votes cheap with their food dollars. There are a few other farms around that I try my best to team up with but so far they are mostly doing their own thing.

    We are hanging in there. I'm just hoping to find out HOW we are supposed to apply for assistance since the recommendation from our union is

    •Your last 18 months of employment (including name, separation reason, how much you earned, and dates of work). Best way to get this is to find your W-2 forms.

    The Self employed don't have this so I want to know what the process will be with the new bill?

  • Grammyprepper
    Grammyprepper Posts: 168 ✭✭✭

    I am not clear on the 'national' plan, but in my state, self-employed DO qualify for unemployment benefits during this 'crisis'. So check your states requirements and don't despair.

    Perhaps you could start a CSA in your area!

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