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Special Report: COVID-19 Ag Impact News

MARCH 2020 UPDATE

Ag News and Economic Highlights

By: Nationwide Economics and Sponsor Relations

  • Former Maryland Farm Bureau president inspires new ag-themed children’s book and video
    • As America’s farmers and ranchers continue the important work of feeding the world in these challenging times, we’d like to take a moment to share a lighthearted view into the life of a Maryland dairy farmer. The farmer, Chuck Fry, is the former president of the Maryland Farm Bureau and he took part in a video for the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s efforts to engage young people and spark curiosity about where their food comes from.
    • The video: “Chuck The Ice Cream Farmer” is a companion piece to help promote a new children’s book introducing readers to the round-the-clock work and ingenuity of dairy farming. (Maryland Farm Bureau)
  • WASDE not showing effects of coronavirus
    • Like much of the economic data from February and early March, the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) for March did not yet show any effects from the coronavirus. Uncertainty remains regarding how long China will be offline as well as how severe the global demand shocks for ag products will be. While little changed from the February estimates, beef and pork production is projected to climb based on increased slaughter as well as a heavier average carcass weight for beef. Notably, the report specifies “strong international demand for U.S. pork products.” Increased worldwide infections and the resulting hit to economic activity could result in large shifts in the estimates next month. (USDA)
  • Coronavirus impacting buyer choices
    • As fears of coronavirus spread, sales have exploded for hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes and even face masks. There has also been a surge in sales of oat milk (at the expense of cow’s milk), which in the last week of February saw sales growth surpass even that of hand sanitizer. In buying more oat milk, which has a longer shelf life than cow’s milk, consumers prepared for social distancing as COVID-19 began spreading across the country. In addition to buying more foods like oat milk which can sit on the shelf longer, sales for fresh fruits and vegetables have taken a hit, possibly due to their limited shelf life. (Market Watch)
  • Study reveals critical role of food, ag sectors in feeding the economy The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has served as a reminder of the critical role that the United States food and agriculture industries play in fueling our nation and ensuring that Americans are supplied with an abundance of safe food during this time of need. America’s food and agricultural industry is committed to helping the country get through the COVID-19 pandemic. A new nationwide economic impact study, commissioned by 21 food and agriculture groups and available at www.FeedingTheEconomy.com, reinforces the significance of these industries as critical to day-to-day American life. (Feeding The Economy Report)