Farm Bureau reports crop and livestock prices drop significantly


Updated information from the American Farm Bureau Federation shows crop and livestock prices have fallen sharply amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The downturn is because shuttered schools, universities, restaurants and bars are no longer buying milk, meat, fruits and vegetables.

According to the American Farm Bureau, futures prices for nearly all the major crops have dropped by double-digit percentages. Pushed down by a 40 percent decrease in ethanol prices, corn prices have fallen 15 percent. Soybean prices are also down 10 percent, while the price for cotton, which is heavily dependent on foreign manufacturing capacity, sank bu close to 30 percent.

Thanks to demand in both the U.S. and China, wheat prices are down only slightly.

As for livestock, both beef and pork futures prices have declined over 30 percent and milk futures prices have also fallen by between 28 and 35 percent.

“The resilience of farmers and ranchers has been nothing short of stunning, but we must not take for granted their ability to hold on with prices spiraling, taking all hope of breaking even with them,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “I stand by my assurance that our food supply remains strong, but America will have fewer farms and ranches supplying it unless USDA acts quickly to deliver aid and our economy is released from the grips of this pandemic soon.”

“The drop in demand is pushing the prices farmers would get paid for their crops to lows that may make it very difficult for them to justify putting another crop in the ground this spring. While the whole country is optimistic there is an end in sight, the question of when the economy will be healthy again is fueling further market uncertainty,” Dr. John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist, said. “It’s worth noting that these prices are in no way tied to what shoppers pay in the grocery store. There are a lot of hands through which these commodities pass from the farm to the fork, so a drop in prices paid to farmers very rarely, if ever, translates into lower consumer prices immediately.”