The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic ushered in countless changes to our modern-day society, including a dramatic retooling of the global food supply chain, but contemporary technologies like solar power have put farmers in a more versatile position. Today’s agricultural land manager is essential and surprisingly resilient, which is good news for a world struggling to outsmart this novel virus.
The time between the first reported infection and the first reported food shortage was blisteringly short and shocking. Panic and fear caused many to hoard products, resulting in massive in-store shortages and a subsequent compounding of the problem. The world was then exposed to a life-threatening situation, the likes of which were unprecedented for a well-developed economic system. Dealing with more than just a threat to our collective health, farmers began struggling to keep crops profitable while the world shut down completely.
The COVID Impact on Our Social and Medical Sectors
The sociological and medical challenges created by the Coronavirus will go down in history as having an enormous impact on the average person’s daily life, even and especially when that average person was a farmer. As an unparalleled example of how the agricultural community reacts to emergency situations, our economy tanked while our farmers dug in to keep us fed, fueled, and clothed. At the same time, some cases saw harvested fields with massive crops that were left to spoil in the sun – all because of an overnight decrease in market demand. Meanwhile, the medical community began developing diagnostics and treatments which meant greater restrictions on consumers and businesses, including farmers.
Regions of the world that were found to be most susceptible to the virus ended up closing up shop. The result was a gradual (albeit speedy) shift in behavior norms, social constructs, and work habits. Some employees began putting in longer hours while others got laid off indefinitely. The system of supply and demand was therefore thrown off kilter as living circumstances and supply chains shifted without warning. Now, the customs of purchasing, preparing, selling, and consuming food require much more structure but often render much less profit.
By every available metric, the simple act of shutting down schools, restaurants, recreational facilities, and other non-essential establishments always means a costly reduction in production, but as more people move towards remote employment as a precaution against the viral spread, business are forced to rethink their operational models. To remain relevant and functional in their industries, the buyers of our market’s food supply will have to balloon their demand back to normal levels in order to support the existing population. In time, this leveling off will mean new opportunities for farmers, especially if they utilize sustainable energy solutions like solar power.
How Sustainable Energy Can Make Farmers More Resilient to the Coronavirus
Some say that the coronavirus is here to stay, but the protective and preventative measures mandated by government officials have already had a profound impact on the way people buy, prepare, and eat food. Everyday dietary habits and long-term nutritional concerns also changed within a matter of weeks. Consumers suddenly wanted healthier and more sustainable options; farmers heard the call.
Collectively traumatized by widespread shortages in an uncertain and/or difficult economic climate, gardening and self-sufficient canning suddenly became more popular than it had been in decades, as did even more product hoarding and panicking. Large survivalist purchases that, if used, would impact market demand for many years to come, were made by millions of worried consumers. At the same time, the number of available workers to produce for this revamped demand for non-traditional goods had been measurably diminished. Agricultural land managers were then left with only a few choices, and one of those choices was to integrate solar technologies to ensure market longevity and resilience despite the lacking infrastructure.
On the bright side (no pun intended), solar energy has been introduced in numerous sectors to date, steadily providing an alternative to traditional manufacturing procedures while the coal-driven world lost its grip. The assimilation is not only more cost-effective but also better for an environment plagued by potentially deadly viruses and suspected climate change. The result of solar integration has been a steady increase in solar-based jobs and a better use of natural resources while securing farmers future and increasing profit margins. It certainly helps that some markets are beginning to open back up and innovative companies have found creative ways to redirect the new demands. If all sectors come together at this time, the impact on our economy could be extremely positive despite the current threat.