Covid-19 has already impacted a lot of commodity prices, due to supply line disruption. Now add apples and sweet cherries to that list.
The Yakima Valley in Washington State is one of our nation’s leading producing areas for these fruits. Over $1 billion worth of crops is produced each year.
But this year coronavirus is spreading through the dormitory-type housing and tents used during the harvest season. Hundreds of people work in various large fruit warehouses packing produce. The virus has spread through these facilities, much as it has and continues to do at meat packing plants in other areas.
As a result, fewer guest workers are being brought in and we can expect prices to rise.
These higher prices do not necessarily mean corresponding profits for the farmers and orchard growers. Just as we have seen in Wisconsin, the agriculture industry will suffer, with many having to seek bankruptcy relief.
Fortunately, the dollar limit for family farm bankruptcies was increased last year (see Agricultural Law & Rural Practice Blog ) and a new form of Chapter 11 is available as well (see The Krekeler Law Report- January 2020 and State Bar of Wisconsin Inside Track ).
We are using both of these tools to help Wisconsin farmers. We are sure lawyers in Washington State will do the same.