BROOKLET, Ga. (WTOC) - Farmers have faced an economic risk others might not appreciate when it comes to the pandemic. But they continue the work it takes to feed and clothe much of the world.
The cotton in Lee Cromley’s fields remains safe from COVID-19, for now. But the turbulence in market prices makes him even more anxious than usual.
“This is a different level of uncertainty. It creates things in the marketplace that you just can’t prepare for and can’t predict,” said Cromley.
Much of what they grow gets sold overseas. But many countries have cut off imports due to the pandemic.
He and other growers have no idea what prices will be when they harvest their crop in the fall. They might not recoup what they’ve spent, let alone made any profit.
“That’s the big situation at the moment, trying to get through this situation with the markets, trying to increase trade, trying to increase exports.”
He’s been an active leader in the Georgia Cotton Commission, an agency that helps promote growers and find buyers.
Cotton farmers, not taxpayers, fund the Georgia Cotton Commission. They pay in $1 per each of those 500 pound bales they crank out at the gin.
Last year, that was close to 3 million bales. Cromley says he's glad the commission works with regional and national groups to lobby for better trade deals and help them find new markets.
“As we continue to work with these export markets, I believe we can recapture some of this business. As the world economy improves, that’ll have the biggest impact on it.”
He says the commission gives a better chance to recover, for him and others who’re proud to be a farmer.