Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Appendix 8: Case Studies 2021 Could Covid Happen Again? Forum

Case Study 1 - Food Production

Roberto and Susan have a diversified farm with four contract poultry houses, beef cows, and crop farms 1,000 acres (small grains). Susan works at a local department store to supplement the farm income and provides the health insurance for the family. At the onset of the pandemic the arrival of the poultry flock was delayed by three weeks. Since the COVID-19 pandemic they have experienced a series of delays in their flock growing cycles (the movement of one flock and the replacement of a new flock; this impacts the number of flocks per year and ultimately the amount of money they make and cash flow). They are behind on their bank payments. Additionally, five of the beef cows were supposed to go to slaughter. However, there were no appointments available to process the beef, resulting in further costs to feed the animals, with no income. The departm ent store closed, and Susan’s job was eliminated. Susan did receive unemployment benefits. However, they no longer have health insurance. The farm is two payments behind and is struggling to make ends meet. Roberto and Susan’s youngest son has diabetes and needs insulin. Roberto and Susan are uncertain of what grain crops to plant not knowing what demand will be.

Case Study 2 - Food Availability (Producer)

Cam produces cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, pole beans, squash, and zucchini. She would normally sell her produce to a local restaurant. However, this restaurant is closed. She lives outside an urban center. Her produce is going bad. She knows that there are other places she could sell her produce, but she doesn’t know who to contact and wh ere the needs are. Cam also takes care of her elderly mother who has recently moved in with her because her dad passed away from COVID-19. Her dad helped her on the farm. She is so tired; trying to juggle the farm and caregiving is getting to be too much. She is weighted by the fact that if her produce business fails then she will have to get a job off the farm and is not sure what will happen to her mom.

Case Study 3 - Food and Financial Security

Martha is a chef working at a large seafood restaurant. Martha has taken a significant reduction in hours due to COVID- 19. She’s married to John who grows oysters for the restaurant industry. Demand for oysters has dropped because most are sold to restaurants. Timing for harvest is critical because if they become too big, they cannot be sold. John is looking for alternative uses of his product but has had a hard time finding options. They have three young children ages 8-11. With the kids not being in school, Martha is the primary caregiver and helping the kids attend school online. They live in an area that does not support broadband and the lack of fast Internet has impacted the children’s schooling. It has also impacted John’s ability to communicate with others, find new options for his product and apply for COVID-19 relief funds. They have used the money from their savings and have been struggling to find nutritious, low-cost food.

Case Study 4 - Mental and Physical Health and Well-being

Jamison is working full time at a home improvement store. As the pandemic evolves, plans and policies change daily. With some people calling out due to sickness, Jamison’s schedule, and job changes frequently; he never knows what to expect. Customers are more impatient and rude. His wife, Jenna works as a manager at the poultry processing plant that is short staffed. She often must pick up extra shifts. They have two children that are learning remotely. They live in an area that has limited internet service. Jamison and Jenna are trying to schedule working opposite shifts. Both are stressed, frustration is building. Jamison has started to feel so overwhelmed he has contemplated suicide; he has called to schedule an appointment with a mental health provider and was told there wasn’t an appointment for two months.

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