Corona Virus and the Farm Economy (Part 2)

Corona Virus and the Farm Economy (Part 2)

March 27, 2020

With Corona Virus, Farms Stay Strong As People Must Eat

By Tim Hammerich with

How should agricultural producers be preparing for a slowdown in the global economy, due to the Corona Virus? That’s the question many are asking. UC Davis Economist Dr. Daniel Sumner has a simple reminder: people still need to eat.

“Don't forget, agriculture is hardly ever cyclical with the rest of the economy. There are booms in the economy when agriculture is struggling, like last year or the year before," said Sumner.  "There are times when the rest of the economy is not doing well and agriculture is doing okay. And even within agriculture, there are times when the dairy industry and the almond industry aren't necessarily in sync, to pick the two biggest commodities in California."

People still eat. People still spend money on food even as incomes fall."A good bit of what we produce, even in California agriculture is pretty basic products for people. And if they're stuck at home, they're buying more of it, not less of it. So we're going to have some gains here in California agriculture, even if the rest of the economy's not doing well,” Sumner said.

Sumner adds that animal agriculture supplies have been hit especially hard with issues such as African Swine Fever before coronavirus. This may add to potential agricultural gains even in the midst of a slowdown or even a potential recession in the economy.