USDA, Boxes and other things that make my head explode
Good morning and Happy Sunday. I can feel your frustration! The USDA box program is an accident on its way to a tragedy. Once again the government just throws our money at a problem without a clear plan or understating of the situation. Just throw a $billion here and a $billion there and the problem will get fixed, NO IT WONT. I am sure it was well intentioned but every time the government gets involved in produce it’s a failure, you know why? The know how to do the “Art of the deal” but they have no conception of the “art of produce”. You don’t learn about produce business in business school, you don’t sell produce like you sell widgets, People in produce are a different breed, they get the job done no matter the obstacles, hours, problems. In the produce business 12 hours work is a half day. There is no try in produce, the job always gets done. With that being said the USDA in all its wisdom forgoes the people and the industry who could have made this program work from farmer to consumer. They should have consulted with us as an industry but went another route, which I fear has no chance of succeeding.
There were probably much better ways to get the food from famers to consumers with less cost and more value. One option that comes to my mind is why wouldn’t you pick a national retailer or several regional retailers, instruct them that they had to get their products to distressed farmers and ranchers outside their normal supply chain and have consumers pick up a box at their local store? Another option there are many full service, produce, meat, dairy, fish foodservice companies throughout the USA, whom were devastated by restaurant closings and have implemented their own box programs, why not go directly to them state by state? So many answers but no questions to our industry. Hat’s off to United and PMA for doing their best to draw attention to this but I feel it’s a futile endeavor. https://www.unitedfresh.org/content/uploads/2020/05/UFPA-PMA-Letter-to-USDA-Farmers-to-Families-final1.pdf?utm_campaign=COVID%2019&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=88026209&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_L-_yjnftyT2AWgQ0LSElVTGGygnXw3KoBHFIuMeCCv3csU3HxGZVsSbNDpMFOr24ACzKo9MxS3AArrN-EJyRd_aMg_Q&_hsmi=88026209
I believe the USDA is now in CYA (cover your Ass) mode and will come up with all the reasons they did what they did and are not about to change. Government does not understand the produce industry and we will all be better off in banding together to keep them out in the future.
Time for venting! Why do large stores like Walmart, Target, Costco and all the rest get to stay open but small businesses are closed? Why can they get unprecedented volume and profits while small businesses suffer? Why can you stand in line at these stores but somehow its unthinkable to stand in line to vote? How can you give up your rights to go outside, go to church as well as countless other liberties and just acquiesce? Do you really think that everyone 16 and older should get a $2000 a month check? If you do, you think it will ever stop? If it never stops, you think we will survive as a country? FYI it's socialism and it has NEVER worked, EVER. I am very skeptical about this part of the virus. We had a push towards socialism and now we have their solution for the virus is socialism. How come all the people who has an opinion on how everything we are doing wrong about the virus don't tell us how to do it right? You want to live under those rules you go right ahead. You think Socialism is the way forward consider this? You notice that what you can't do in some states but the people whom imposed those rules on you can? Chicago, you can't go get a haircut, but your mayor can. NY, your Mayor can travel to Brooklyn to walk in a park, but you must shelter in place. Forget about your Governor who literally killed hundreds of nursing home victims, due to his rules that all sick people must be admitted to nursing homes. I can't even begin to explain Michigan’s Governor for the Gov. of Wisconsin, that struck down his stay at home orders. Lastly, arresting citizens and put them in jail for not social distancing while you send out convicted criminals and felons from jail because you don’t want them to get the virus! I am 63, high risk, I am going outside, I just came from a restaurant, I went to the beach with my family 2 weekends ago, without masks. I will die one day but not today and I will LIVE EVERYDAY UNTIL THE DAY I DIE, and you should too. End of rant.
Sorry the video cut off at the end so I didn’t get my chance to say I love you and I love the produce business. Be safe and let’s get back to work.
Has anyone considered that the "new normal" may be better than the "old normal"?