July 27, 2020

CAST and AAEA Release Publication on COVID-19 and Agriculture

CAST and AAEA Release Publication on COVID-19 and Agriculture

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) and the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) published the Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Food and Agricultural Markets. The paper was constructed by 29 experts in the field and discusses macroeconomics, trade, supply chain, consumer behavior, food service/grocery, meat processing, forestry and wood products, local food systems, food waste, food insecurity, major commodity crops, agricultural finance, agricultural labor, rural health care, and research and outreach priorities.

CAST is an international association of scientific and professional societies, companies, and nonprofit organizations. Through its network of experts, CAST assembles, interprets, and communicates credible, balanced, science-based information to policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public. AAEA is a not-for-profit association serving the professional interests of members working in agricultural and broadly related fields of applied economics. Their work addresses a broad range of topics such as the economics of agriculture, international and rural development, resources and the environment, food and consumer issues, and agribusiness.

Dr. Glynn Tonsor, Agricultural Economics faculty member at Kansas State University, and Dr. Lee Schulz, an Agricultural Economist at Iowa State University, authored the COVID-19 Impacts on the Meat Processing Sector section of the report, stating, “perhaps no segment of the U.S. agricultural supply chain has been more challenged by COVID- 19 or discussed in the media as extensively as the meat processing sector.” The authors go on to say, “the disruptions presented by COVD-19 to-date have been truly historic and never experienced by most involved. These disruptions occurred globally as multiple countries have been similarly challenged in harvesting animals and sustaining pre-COVID-19 desired meat production volumes. Given the global nature of the pandemic, it is our opinion that the meat processing sector’s ability to adapt and begin the process of recovery has been remarkable.”

Many countries shut down large segments of their economies, with most employees working remotely as much as possible. This “led to a sharp and significant loss in gross domestic product and a rapid rise in unemployment and underemployment,” said Jeffrey Dorfman, an agricultural and applied economics professor at the University of Georgia. “The challenge is to restore as much economic activity as possible while maintaining some measure of control and mitigation of the novel coronavirus.”

Read the Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Food and Agricultural Markets here.