California Ag Expects $9 Billion Hit from Virus

California’s agriculture industry, the nation’s largest, has lost $2 billion in 2020 and stands to miss out on an estimated $8.6 billion by year’s end as a result of the impact of the coronavirus.

A reported commissioned by the California Farm Bureau Federation and others took a look at 15 different parts of the agriculture industry, using data through early May.

Dairy is expected to see the largest total loss—somewhere between $1.4 billion and $2.3 billion—as it accounts for nearly one-fifth of the state’s $50 billion ag industry.

Grapes are second on the list. Growers could see more than a $1.5 billion loss, followed by flowers at more than $660 million.

Jamie Johansson is the president of the federation and a citrus and olive grower in Northern California. He said he called on the state to stop writing new regulations that further stress the economics of farming.

“California farmers, ranchers and their employees have continued the essential work needed to keep American families fed, but that work has come with sacrifice,” Johansson said. “The impact is being felt in rural communities throughout the state that rely on agriculture for their residents’ livelihoods.”

The report, produced by ERA Economics, pointed to unstable markets and rapidly shifting purchasing behaviors as the main drivers behind the loss in farm revenue. In the case of some products like pork, virus outbreaks in packing plants created bottlenecks in the supply chain, forcing farmers to kill, disk or otherwise destroy their animals and crops.

Source: Palm Springs Desert Sun