The World Health Organization now considers the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a pandemic. The rapidly evolving situation is raising questions throughout the U.S. The stock market has taken a hit in recent weeks creating wild volatility and there are growing concerns about the virus and our reaction to it causing a significant downturn in the general economy.
But what about agriculture? Below are six specific things that farmers, farming families, ag employers, and ag employees need to be aware of and plan for.
1. Markets and farm prices. As we see growing levels of concern, recommendations for “social distancing,” reduced travel, avoiding crowds, closures, and other protective practices to slow the spread of COVID-19, consumers will be making tough choices about food, eating away from home, and overall spending. Dairy is prominently featured in out-of-home eating and there may be some disruptions in food service sales. This will likely have an impact on markets and prices. There have also been bottlenecks at ports in other countries as ships wait to be offloaded with U.S. dairy and other farm products. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has shut down floor trading of all products until “further notice,” though electronic trading will continue.
Read the full story originally published by Mark Stephenson and John Shutske.