TOOMBS CO., Ga. (WTOC) - Some businesses continue to reopen, but farms never had the chance to close. WTOC’s Andrew Gorton talked with a farmer in Toombs County about how his family is handing farming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our farm has been in here close to 100 years I’d say. My granddaddy had a little piece of land and then we have just built from it from there,” said L. G. Herndon, Jr.
That little piece of land has turned into nearly 5,000 acres spread across Montgomery and Toombs counties.
All of that land keep the Herndon’s busy throughout the year. Where they grow Vidalia onions, greens, soybeans, and corn, along with where they manage over 1,600 cattle and a trucking company.
But this year has been a little different than years past because of the COVID-19 epidemic.
“Really, we have had to just back off. I am trying to keep my laborers separated, try to keep them six feet apart. Instead of using one bus to haul forty people to a field we use two buses now. It has affected us a lot of ways but we are just doing the best we can,” said Herndon.
Workers the Herndon family says they get to employ come thanks to the help of the U.S. government.
“We’ve got a Commissioner of Agriculture in the state of Georgia that has really backed the farmers, and Sonny Perdue, our Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, he has really been a big help to us and I would like to commend our President of the United States,” Herndon said.
“They’re trying to get us better prices for our product. We got our labor, we were so scared that we weren’t going to get our labor and if we hadn’t of gotten our labor in a timely manner we would have lost all our crops. They got out there and pushed to get our workers from Mexico and helped us put together plans for food safety,” said Herndon.
Even with help, some farmers across the country are still facing a challenge.
"A lot of the farmers that depend on restaurants and this type of business, they have lost all of their product because this epidemic hit when everybody had their crops in the ground. It has been devastating to a lot of farmers," said Herndon.
But the Herndon family will make the best of it, just like they have been doing for nearly a century.
“We’re the only people in the world I think that can have a disaster like this epidemic we are having now and just keep getting up and say, well, tomorrow is going to be better. That’s what you have to live like if you are going to be on the farm. You have to just keep hoping that tomorrow is going to be better,” said Herndon.