How This Pandemic Is Affecting Some of Our Essential Businesses

— Written By Mitch Williams and last updated by
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

In these uncertain times surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, agriculture and forestry personnel have been deemed essential. Some people ask why are these personnel essential and not me? Why are many of us forced to stay home while others can continue to go to work unabated? The answer is simple. We cannot survive without food and fiber. Grocery stores need a continuous supply of food and paper products to sell to US citizens. Important construction projects need a continuous supply of lumber. We need farming and forestry to continue our daily lives. 

Even though these two sectors have been deemed essential, things are not all rosy right now. The United States farmer and logger are connected to the world market. We export to other countries, import from around the globe; which in turn affect supply, demand and price points of commodities. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, commodity prices such as corn and cotton have dropped dramatically. Leaving many farmers trying to decide if they can afford to farm this year or if they will have to close, like many other small businesses across the world. Equipment costs, input costs and labor costs have not dropped, but commodity prices have. Farmers have seen prices drop many times before and we all hope that prices will quickly rebound, before harvest season. 

The wood products market is starting to slow as well. Construction has not halted but it has slowed down. Hopefully we can squash this pandemic quickly and get the economy back going again. Many sawmills are closing for maintenance during this pandemic, others are cutting way back on production, others are not sure what to do; hoping that their work force will remain healthy so that they can stay open. The pulp and paper markets seem to be ok for now. Many of these mills have seen a dramatic increase in orders, due to so many Americans staying home and utilizing more paper products, such as pizza boxes. 

We will get through this pandemic together. We will all go back to work and eventually life will return to normal. Perhaps our local agriculture and forest product personnel and business owners will prosper during this time. Hopefully, commodity prices will rebound, raw commodity orders will increase and we can return to normal life sooner rather than later. 

Mitchell Williams is Agriculture Agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.