Pandemic has Minnesota ag community asking “What do we do?”


Pandemic has Minnesota ag community asking “What do we do?”

A south-central Minnesota crop and livestock producer says the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on her community.

Rochelle Krusemark grows corn, soybeans, has a cow/calf herd, and custom finishes hogs.

“We live in Martin County, and Martin County raises lose to two million pigs a year. So this hits our community extremely, extremely hard. What do you do with thousands of pigs that can’t go to market now? I really don’t know what the answer is going to be.”

Packing plants across the country are closing because of sick workers, causing a backup of hogs.

The biofuels sector is also hurting as people refrain from traveling.  Martin County is home to two ethanol plants.

“This is going to be very interesting. There’s going to be decisions made that I’ve never seen in my lifetime, and I hope we never see again. That’s what keeps you up at night is all the ‘what if’s’ and ‘what do we do?”

Krusemark says with her beef cows, she’ll turn them outside and let them get bigger.  But with the hogs in a controlled environment, she can’t fence them in and turn them out like she can with cattle.

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