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Shortages

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 6/19/20

With the wild spring that we have seen with stay at home orders from the coronavirus to crazy weather patterns were it is warmer one week and then you get a surprise frost, now we are dealing with …

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Shortages

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With the wild spring that we have seen with stay at home orders from the coronavirus to crazy weather patterns were it is warmer one week and then you get a surprise frost, now we are dealing with shortages.

Everyday when I try to place orders with our suppliers, I see the same thing, “out of stock”. First it was peat pots, trays and other seed staring items in April. Then bedding plant and flower growers quickly sold out of their stock entire stock by early May that would usually last till Memorial Day weekend. After that larger plants ran out like raspberries, grapes, nut and fruit trees.

Now perennials and shrubs are in short supply as the demand has far exceeded the supply. All our usual landscapers that come in to buy plants are finding that the most popular varieties are sold out for the season. On top of that, dirt is short supply. Top soil, cow manure and bagged compost have all been out of stock and on back order since May fourth.

We have had to use seven different suppliers, just to keep some types of soil in stock at all times. Now because many more people planted gardens this year, they need to protect them from the critters, by putting up fences around their gardens. As a result, welded wire, poultry netting and metal posts are out of stock. Fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides have all seen “out of stock” situations this spring.

As many manufacturers shut down during the worst of the pandemic, all the product that was in the supply chain has been exhausted and there is none ready for restocking. Our suppliers are in the same boat as we are, you can't sell something you don't have.

The national supply chain has been horribly affected, first by the stoppage of international shipments, mostly from China and then the fact that most U.S. manufacturers shut down. For us, we were lucky that most of our spring inventory came in back in January, February and early March before the shortages began.

Back then everyone was worries about toilet paper. Remember the stories about farmers having to dump their milk because the processors would not take it. Well the truth of the matter was that in most cases it was not because of reduced demand because of closed schools, but because the processors could not get paper or plastic containers to put the milk in.

Likewise, now we are seeing shortages of canning supplies. Cold pack canners are on back order already and Ball canning jars of sixteen ounces or more are delayed for six weeks or more. We have our early ordered canning jars in stock but with the increased demand for vegetable plants this spring, I know that the demand for canning jars will also increase and the current supply we have will not make to July fourth weekend.

We are not the only one affected by shortages, as I talked with one of our contractors that come in for Carhartt clothing often, and he is having problems getting pressure treated lumber as since everyone was home they all decided to repair or replace their decks all at once, depleting the supply of lumber.

So now we are planning far ahead, I have around one hundred and fifty snow shovels coming in this week.

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