Farm outlets say coronavirus has helped in some ways

PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Instead of hurting, the coronavirus outbreak actually has helped some businesses.

That was the word Thursday from owners during a conference that illustrated the tight bonds between agriculture and manufacturing in the state.

“The link between manufacturing and agriculture is stringer everyday,” Lee Lingo, the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, said during the virtual forum that featured agriculture and manufacturing stakeholders from the Cumberland Region.

Almost a dozen stakeholders from both groups introduced their businesses and how they connected with the other and how they’ve grown.

Joel Wilson of Center Point Farm in Nancy, Ky., talked about hows the farm has grown to the point where it had nine employees this year and may expand next year as its strawberry operation succeeds.

Kyle Turpin with Summitt Meat Processing said beef shortages at major grocery chains during the coronavirus pandemic sent consumers to them for fresh beef.

He says the increase is carrying over into potential business now at large retailers and new customers at farmers markets.

“”The pandemic definitely changed the landscape for meats,” he said.

Jarod Smith, the brand manager for Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville, said the company takes “great pride” in showing off its Kentucky Proud insignia.

Having Kentucky ingredients makes a huge difference as these bottles go across the country, across the world,” he said.

“For bourbon,m the future is great, it just gets crazier,” he added.

Allison Horseman of Lavender Farm at Woodstock said they worried they would have to shut down. Instead, walk up business and online sales made for a big spring so far.

“We’ve had a huge uptick in online orders from people who want to support local,” she said.

Other business at the conference hosted by the state agriculture department and manufacturers association offered similar thoughts.

But soybean and corn farmers say they could use some rain to give their crops a boost and to imp[rove yields, especially since commodity prices are down because of surpluses in storage.

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