UNADILLA — With meat packing plants closing because of the coronavirus and food supply chains disrupted around the world, farmers across Nebraska like Jim Bartling are feeling the pain.

“The problem with being a hog farmer is that I just can’t shut the door and lock it like store owners,” Bartling said. “This is a wound and there is no way to stop the bleeding.”

There’s nowhere for farmers like Bartling to sell their animals, so there’s no money coming in while the cost of care and feeding keeps mounting.

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Jim Bartling looks out of a broken window in his farrowing facility on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Unadilla, Nebraska. Photo by Kenneth Ferriera

“It is only going to get worse if things keep going the way they are going,” he said.

Some farmers have already euthanized some pigs because they can’t sell them and can’t afford to keep feeding them because of mounting debts.

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A sow waits to be fed by Jim Bartlingin a farrowing facility his hog farm on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Unadilla, Nebraska. Photo by Kenneth Ferriera

Walking back toward his home after making rounds on his hog farm, Bartling said he could see problems coming when the virus was contained only to China. 

“If what was happening was enough to make them shut down so much I knew it was coming our way,” he said.

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Jim Bartling walks back toward his home after making rounds on his hog farm Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Unadilla, Nebraska. Photo by Kenneth Ferriera
I’m fourth year Journalism and Broadcasting student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am currently a photojournalist for Cedar County News. In Fall 2019, I will be a photo intern for the Omaha World Herald. I grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming and it helped influence me in countless ways. First and foremost being taught that hard work is a way of life and doing a good job benefits everyone. Much of my time has been spent around hard working and honest blue collar workers and from them In have learned that hard work pays off. They knew that obstacles and fears and meant to be overcome and while failure is expected giving up is something I will not allow myself. My work is driven by an urge to educate people, in hopes that I can help eliminate fears and help people make connections to those they have never met. Showing people the human side of of stories and issues is the best way to inspire change. To go the distance to give the public the information to help them make well informed decisions. When I am not working I love being outside. I hike, rock climb, watch documentaries, and try not to get eaten by bears (they are everywhere you know). Anything that keeps me on the move helps me learn makes me happy.