The equipment production tangle now poses a threat to the U.S. food supply and farmers’ ability to get crops out of fields, according to Reuters.
The growing problem: “Kinks in the supply chain due to COVID-19 shutdowns in manufacturing hubs in the United States and Asia, a container shortage snarling major ports and a dearth of workers prevent equipment manufacturers from fully cashing in on a lucrative moment, when grain prices have soared to the highest in nearly a decade… Access to steel, plastic, rubber and other raw materials has been scarce during the pandemic, and manufacturers are preparing for even more shocks after power shortages forced several Chinese smelters to cut production in recent weeks.”
Chain reaction: The barrage of events is leaving American farmers without the ability to replace damaged components and unable to complete their harvests before the season ends.
Desperate solutions: Some farmers are scrambling to find workarounds for their broken equipment, including repairing and reusing old parts. Other farmers are being forced to store their machinery under lock and key for fear of thieves desperate to salvage hard-to-obtain components. Meanwhile, unfinished combines wait in factory parking lots as crucial parts are diverted to customers in the field for repairs instead.