The pandemic caused more than $500 million in losses
By Diego Flammini
A new document has shed light on how exactly the pandemic has affected Indiana’s ag and food sectors.
The Resilience Through Disruption report indicates COVID-19 has caused more than $500 million in losses in direct revenue to Indiana farmers. These losses are spread across the state’s corn, soybean, hog, dairy and egg sectors.
Ernst & Young and Purdue University prepared the January report using data from AgriNovus Indiana, a non-profit dedicated to improving the state’s agbioscience economy.
Each sector had different struggles.
Corn producers, for example, experienced the largest monetary losses.
“The largest impact was borne by corn producers who suffered between $165 and $370 million in estimated losses due to shifts in demand the resulting corn price impacts,” the report said. “Corn prices fell as ethanol plants closed and animal producers slowed production.”
The dairy sector, which lost about $35 million, had to overcome severe market losses.
“Dairy farmers struggled during the pandemic because the largest milk purchasers, such as schools, were forced to close and producers struggled to find alternative routes to market,” the report says. “At the same time, due to the heavy shortages, many Indiana grocers limited the amount of milk customers could purchase, further distorting the market.”
In April 2020, the American Dairy Association of Indiana encouraged people to share photos of grocery stores limiting milk purchases.
The Resilience Through Disruption report also provided recommendations for how Indiana’s ag and food sectors can recover from the pandemic.
The five ideas include implementing transparency and traceability, increasing collaboration along the supply chain and investing in the future.
“Changes in labor availability and consumer demands offer enormous opportunities for investment, and Indiana has the infrastructure, knowledge and skilled labor to compete for venture capital funding in food and agriculture,” the report said.
Farms.com has contacted members of Indiana’s ag community for comment.