Joseph V. Balagtas, Joseph Cooper, and Mary A. Marchant
The articles in this Choices Theme issue evaluate the main short-term impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic for key food and agricultural markets and discuss potential longer-term implications. Topics examined include farm income, federal pandemic payments to producers, fruit and vegetables, dairy, livestock, consumer expenditures, and trade.
Seth Meyer and Patrick Westhoff
We examine the shift in the outlook for farm income and field crops, comparing projections made before the Phase One trade agreement and before COVID-19 to the outlook after these events occurred. The pandemic shocks sharply reduced the outlook for crop and livestock cash receipts and for farm income.
Ashley Hungerford, Anne Effland, and Robert Johansson
We provide an overview of the major emergency actions taken to address food and agriculture needs during the pandemic. We focus primarily on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, a direct payment program to producers administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, highlighting its uniquely broad scope.
Daniel A. Sumner
Data on fresh produce shipments and prices in 2020 show no clear, significant differences between the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and earlier years. The produce industry, including farms, shippers, and the hired farm workforce, was remarkably resilient in the face of unprecedented challenges and disruptions.
Christopher A. Wolf, Andrew M. Novakovic, and Mark W. Stephenson
This paper examines dairy market disruptions and adjustments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mix of dairy products consumed at home relative to away from home resulted in shortages for some products and disposal of others. Existing and new government programs blunted farm cash-flow impacts and enhanced dairy product demand.
Shawn Arita, Jason Grant, and Sharon Sydow
We conduct an initial ex-post assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on international trade. Descriptive analysis of observed trade flows suggests that agricultural trade was generally stable under the pandemic relative to non-agricultural trade and previous trade shocks; however, the level of observed changes was highly uneven across commodities and markets. Preliminary econometric analysis finds the pandemic reduced quarterly global agricultural trade by 4.2% in the second and third quarters of 2020. Findings of this study provide initial empirical evidence of the effects of the pandemic on agricultural trade and points to areas of future empirical research.
Jayson L. Lusk and Brandon R. McFadden
Recessions are typically associated with lower incomes, greater unemployment, and increases in free time. This article reviews how food buying and consumption changed in past recessions, and discusses how the COVID-19 related recession, which is atypical in terms of impacts on household incomes and savings rates, has affected food consumption behaviors.
Joseph Balagtas and Joseph Cooper
This paper assesses the COVID-19–related disruptions to meat and livestock markets in the United States. We provide a data-based description of the COVID-19 impact, including the shutdown of the food service sector, costs associated with packing plants’ efforts to move product across supply chains, and meat-packing plant closings.