How are Indiana farmer co-ops dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak? One of Indiana’s largest farmer-owned co-ops is Ceres Solutions. CEO Jeff Troike says the pandemic is presenting some challenges, but they are finding ways to work around it.
“We are rotating our employee groups each week asking part of them to stay home; but they are on call, so if we get busy they can come back in. This helps us distance our employees to keep them healthy.”
He added that some employees are working from home and that extra efforts are being made to keep facilities and equipment clean and sanitized.
Troike noted there are no supply issues but delivery can be a problem, saying, “We are not making any on-farm visits or making farm calls.”
He said virtual meetings are being held whenever possible. He added, if an employee needs to enter a farm or residence, extra personal protection equipment is being used.
One concern Troike has is, when fieldwork begins, being able to handle custom application requests. “We do have a concern about our employees and our farmer customers,” he stated. “When the weather breaks will there be any health problems that will limit our work force, that is one of our concerns, but there is not a lot we can do about it.”
Overall, he is optimistic the co-op and its customers will get through the current crisis.
“We feel really, really good about our supply plan and we feel we are in a position to take care of our customers.”
Troike told HAT the farmers he has talked with are optimistic about the planting season and getting past the current crisis.