( The Packer )

At the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group on LinkedIn, I offered a poll question  this morning that states, “As a produce professional, what is your biggest worry?” 

So far 45 votes are in and the responses are

  • Coronavirus effect on labor: 22%;
  • Prolonged recession: 38%;
  • Political direction of country: 33%; and
  • Other: 7%.

So, there is a lot of the reaction to that poll, and apparently fairly distributed worry about labor, the economy and politics.

But as one reader pointed out, you worry about what you can control, and none of those options is necessarily in the direct control of anyone.

Revisiting the poll from a couple weeks ago, I thought the survey about industry work habits was revealing.

The question: “How many hours per week do you work?

With 206 votes, the responses:

  • 30 to 40 hours: 11%;
  • 40 to 50 hours: 27%;
  • 50 to 60 hours:  29%; and
  • More than 60:  33%.

Passion fuels long hours, but one reader also points out that self-care and family care is especially important now.

“Balance is essential,” the comment said. Based on the poll results,  the industry needs more of that balance.

There are numerous media reports on the effect of the coronavirus on farm labor, and none of those reports is light and breezy.

One story posted on mlive.com reveals that a federal judge here declined to set aside a Michigan state order requiring foreign workers to be tested for coronavirus. 

The story said that a federal judge has declined a request for temporary restraining order to stop the state from requiring all farm and food processing workers to be tested for COVID-19.

According to the report, the Michigan Farm Bureau issued a statement in response to the judge’s decision. The farm group pointed out that no other business group in state is subject to mandatory testing except for work except for nursing home workers.

Why insist on mandatory testing on farm workers alone?

Everyone is shopping online, or so it seems. Check out the Walmart press release that talks about Walmart great gains for online sales, as the company reported e-commerce sales rose 97% from the same quarter a year ago.

Finally, check out The Packer's poll, "When will foodservice segment return to pre-COVID levels? How long must we wait for "normal"?