This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 15, 2020

Wasting Food versus Feeding People

While this Herman Trend Alert focuses on the dislocation of food in the US, this solution could work for small and large farms worldwide.

Many of you may have seen on television or read the New York Times article about the fact that farmers are ploughing over their fields rather than harvesting the vegetables or about dairy farmers dumping thousands of gallons of milk or about poultry farmers smashing millions of eggs. To have this happen when thousands of families are waiting in lines at under-resourced food banks was very disturbing to me. Something is very wrong with this picture!

Why is this happening?
With more than half of the restaurants and almost all of the hotels shut down and the cruise lines on hiatus, all of the produce, all of the eggs, all of the meat and poultry, and all of the dairy to serve their guests is simply not needed. To give you an idea of the extent of this waste, according to estimates from the country's largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, their farmers are dumping 3.7 million gallons of milk each day and one chicken processor is crushing three-quarters of a million eggs every week. At the same, hundreds of thousands of families are lining up in their cars at food banks throughout the United States waiting for the bags and boxes they need to feed their families.

The problems that must be solved
1. Either the farmers currently destroying their production must be paid for their goods or they must be given tax breaks or both.
2. A food logistics company is needed to help with the logistics.
3. Once logistics are handled, we will need trucking companies to move the goods to where they are most needed.
4. But wait, there is more: the farmers produce and ship the goods in very large quantities and most food banks are simply not equipped to break them down. So, we also need processing facilities for repackaging the eggs, dairy, cheese, meat, poultry, etc.

What is needed
1. Some organization (government or non-profit) needs to pay for the food or Congress must give the farmers tax breaks or perhaps, both.
2. We need service companies like Sysco, Jeronimo Martins, Farmer Brothers, US Foods, and Gordon Food Service to handle the logistics.
3. Third, we will need trucking companies like Old Dominion, J.B. Hunt, YRC, and Schneider to step up to the plate and offer to move the goods to where they are most needed.
4. Either the food banks like The Food Bank of the Southern Tier in Corning, New York which traditionally has done this kind of repackaging or we may need to establish new processing facilities for repackaging the eggs, dairy, cheese, meat, poultry, etc.

We can do this!
The US has some of the greatest minds in the world; we should be able to figure this out. It may require thinking outside of our traditional boxes, but we have the technology and we have the service companies. Where are the philanthropists and innovators who could help make this happen? I could not sit idly by and not bring this situation to your attention.

To read the referenced article, visit the New York Times.

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