Experts address estimates on agriculture losses due to COVID-19

U.S. agriculture losses due to COVID-19 are estimated at tens of billions of dollars.

The final numbers are not in yet, but American Farm Bureau’s Andrew Walmsley says that their best estimate of losses due to the coronavirus is huge.

“Our best guess estimate, at this point, is, in the ballpark, north of $60 billion, impacts both near term, and then, just the long term depression of has definitely been a negative impact to agriculture,” Walmsley said.

CoBanks’s Will Sawyer says that supply chain disruptions and meat plant closures make up a large share.

“There might be 6-7 million pigs euthanized, as a result of these plant shutdowns. By our math, that could be $700-750 million dollars of lost market value,” he said.

Those losses were just a three month time frame, adding to earlier losses of an estimated $5 billion dollars for the pork industry and at lease $13 billion dollars for cattle. Walmsley states that processing capacity still has to catch up to livestock production.

“We’re still a ways away from normal...even when we get these facilities open, there are still capacity issues. When you look at just the life cycle of animals, it’s not a switch you can flip overnight.”

Farm Bureau is requesting billions more from Congress through CCC funding aid fro the ethanol industry and the sectors left out of CFAP.

For all updates on the Coronavirus and how it impacts Rural America, visit our Coronavirus outbreak hub.