Breaking News
More () »

East TN farmers feeling the impact of COVID-19

With losses in the millions of dollars for Tennessee farmers, they're feeling the impact of COVID-19

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Just like the rest of us, farmers were caught off guard when the pandemic started.

"This COVID thing hit really got going in March kind of freaked us out," said Jeffery Turnmire.

For Jeffery Turnmire owner of Francis Road Farm, 2020 was a year of uncertainties.

“If there is hesitation to even come, that's less people coming through the door to visit your farm which turns into to sales - so it's less sales." Turnmire said.

With those uncertainties Turnmire and his team were forced to change their game plan.

"We're able to adjust on the fly buy some different seed get it in the ground and within 3 weeks have a different product mix available for the market," said Turnmire.

Even with community needs the producers are feeling the loss.

"The demand might of been even higher at the Farmer's Market because it was definitely less people coming through," Turnmire said.

A study from UT AG Research Institute of Agriculture estimates producers losing between $43.7 and $101.6 Million dollars.

For farmers like Turnmire, that means losses they can't account for and having to fight for every penny.

"We fought our way through 2020, we were reluctant to go to the farmers market and we decided to give it a shot," said Turnmire.

Adapting to a new environment and producing the things the community needed

"We just really put effort in to providing products that people wanted to buy this year in the COVID market"

As fall growing season ends Jeffery Turnmire and his staff are counting down the days until spring growing season returns. 

Hoping 2021 can treat them better than 2020 did.