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Barley farmer from Power shifts to helping healthcare workers

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Posted at 9:32 AM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 15:40:45-04

HELENA — Many agriculture producers are dealing with uncertainty right now, as COVID-19 spreads across the country.

Ryan Pfeifle, a barley farmer in Power northwest of Great Falls, is on standby with his normal business, but he's helping other essential workers get the equipment they need.

Making malt is Ryan's passion, but right now, demand for the product is down: "I got a lot of malt inventory, and none of the breweries are really making beer."

While his malting machine might be quiet right now, Pfeifle is starting up another. With his 3-D printer, he's creating masks for healthcare providers in the area. So far, he's created about 10 masks and 30 face shields, joining a group of people across the state who are stepping up to help hospitals.

The face shields are actually made from binder sheets he buys at Staples.

He plans to keep going until he runs out of material: "My hope is they don't need any of my gear. I hope they get the gear they need. But it's always good to have a backup." Pfeifle says he can make two face shields every three and a half hours.