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New Program Helping Farmers Get Unused Food To Utah Families In Need

WEST POINT, Utah – Meat shortages, wasted dairy, tossing vegetables — all of it just a small part of coronavirus-related fallout that has threatened food supply chains.

However, Utah may have found a solution with the “Farmers Feeding Families” program, which was announced by the Utah Farm Bureau on Thursday.

Of all the things grown at Bennett Farms, it is the work ethic that fills Allen Bennett with pride. 

“Oh, absolutely,” said Bennett at his farm Thursday afternoon. “I’ve done it my whole life and wouldn’t know anything different. I wouldn’t want to do anything any different either.” 

For 125 years, his family has farmed in West Point. 

“What a great joy it is to plant a seed, watch it sprout, grow, develop and be harvested,” said Bennett. 

Being able to provide food for families is what keeps him going. 

Which makes what he had to do last month tough. 

“We still had onions in storage to be processed when this came about and because of the sales dropped off to near nothing, many of those onions had to be disposed of,” said Bennett. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, closed restaurants and other buyers are not ordering food like they normally do. 

That is creating a backlog of produce that Bennett could not do anything with. 

“That’s the frustrating thing because we know people need them, people are going hungry, and yet we couldn’t get it to them through the supply chain and have to dump it,” said Bennett. 

Cattle ranchers are also having issues because of closed meat processing plants across the country. 

However, during a news conference at Bennett Farms, a new program was announced that just might be a solution. 

“Today, we’re asking you to be a part of the miracle of agriculture,” said Ron Gibson, president of the Utah Farm Bureau. “We’re trying to drive business to local Utah businesses and help support farms and ranches and get that food to people in need. It’s a perfect solution for Utah.” 

Anyone can donate money to the program online. In turn, program administrators buy food from Utah farmers and ranchers. 

That meat or produce is processed using smaller, local facilities and given to charitable groups that help families struggling to buy food. 

“We can go to that farmer and we can get that product directly to a consumer without all the bureaucracy that goes on,” said Gibson. 

Not only does it help farmers move food and make a little money, but it also helps families who need food. 

“I think it’s great to be able to supply those things to people who are in need of it,” said Bennett.

Farmers said this could be a model for other states dealing with the same food chain challenges.


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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