The Economic Perspective: “Challenges to Food Producers During the Virus Crisis”

Mary:  I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.   Today’s program looks at challenges to food producers during the virus crisis.  Mike, the coronavirus and resulting recession have hit almost every part of our economy, and that includes farmers and food processors.  Certainly, those industries have been deemed essential, but still they face some problems.  What are some of the unique issues confronting those who we rely on to supply our food?

 

Mike:  Summary Answer

  • Food purchases are almost 50-50 split between eating at home and eating out
  • Eating out has been forced to contract
  • Might say, no problem – just ship that food to supermarkets
  • Not that easy – different regulations, processing, packaging, delivery
  • So food system is dealing with that at the same time farm food prices are plunging
  • Another issue – large food processing plants – are big factories, and one in the west was closed due to the virus
  • Third – labor supply on farms in coming harvest months – will it be there
  • I’m MW

 

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.