University of Illinois experts discuss COVID-19 impact on agriculture


BownfieldAg reports Leaders with the University of Illinois hosted a webinar to discuss the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on agriculture.

Gary Schnitkey says the industry is facing supply chain challenges as consumers change their buying patterns.

“There have been some shortages and most of those shortages are because of consumer behavior...” he says. “Our first major concern is keeping our supply chain functioning and those would be primarily related to meat, dairy, egg, and produce - those perishable commodities.”

Farmers have also been forced into a difficult decision-making environment because of how quickly the environment is changing. Todd Hubbs says it’s too early to say if there will be a shift in acreage.

“It’s a little bit early- let’s see how this thing moves over the next few weeks,” he says. “We may get back to some sort of business a little bit quicker than many of the commentators are now speculating- that would be my preference and hopefully that’s the case.”

Congress is putting together an economic stimulus package, but Jonathan Coppess says he believes it’s too early to discuss another round of Market Facilitation Program payments.

“From my perspective, it is way too early to be talking about another MFP-type or another direct assistance given we have such vast uncertainties around the economy, around this pandemic, and frankly around planting,” he says.