Articles like this amaze me. I do not follow agricultural news, nor do I think about global supply chains, but recent events like COVID-19 have me looking up different articles I would never have read. This one features commentary from a Greek shipping magnate, Victor Restis. Mr. Restis, the president of Enterprises Shipping & Trading S.A and shares some interesting insights on the global shipping industry and how it connects to places like Iowa.
Iowa’s export of pork, beef, and chicken is vital to America. Millions of people get their food from the meat processed in Iowa, and the health of the processing plant is just as important as the supply chain that moves it. After all, no product, no shipping, no food – it’s that simple.
These industries survive because of people, not machines, not artificial intelligence, and not robotics. When a virus comes along like COVID-19, affecting people, making them sick, and in many cases killing them, then we have a problem that will shake the global supply chains across the entire globe.
Mr. Restis says that COVID-19 affected the shipping and trade industry, but whatever steps they took to safeguard it from failure seemed to have worked. I don’t think there were any substantial issues in getting much-needed food, supplies, and products to market through the supply chain. I hope Mr. Restis influences to bring other shipping executives together to sit down and create new fail-safes in the event of future pandemics.
For Iowa, they lost a lot in product and human resources. Iowa pig farmers raise one-third of the pigs in the United States. It takes approximately 10 months from conception for a pig to be ready to go to market. In the wake of COVID-19, it seems that farmers and producers have worked tirelessly and creatively to find ways to make sure as many pigs as possible stay in the food supply chain.
Unfortunately, there are multiple reports of pig farmers who have had to decide to euthanize a good portion of their livestock (mostly pigs). This is heartbreaking on so many levels. I, for one, am not a fan of killing animals unless it is for food. I hate trophy hunters but respect the hunter who feeds a family with their kill (and extra points to those hunters who appreciate the spirit of the animal in the way they kill or process the meat).
I digress. Like I said before, this is all new to me, and I just hope that our industries that millions of people rely on can find ways to continue operating in the face of this, and future, pandemics.