The future of agriculture may rest with the American consumer

Kai Ryssdal and Alli Fam Apr 10, 2020
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Keystone/Getty Images

The future of agriculture may rest with the American consumer

Kai Ryssdal and Alli Fam Apr 10, 2020
Keystone/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

It can be easy to look at empty grocery store shelves and conclude that demand for agricultural products is at a high right now. But grocery stores are only one piece of the puzzle. For many farmers, much of the demand for their products comes from restaurants and other wholesale buyers. Brian Duncan, a hog, corn and soybean farmer, as well as vice president of the Illinois farm Bureau, spoke to “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about the challenges farmers are facing right now.

Duncan explained to Ryssdal that falling demand is especially bad for farmers with perishable products because they can’t “wait this out” by storing their goods. He told Ryssdal that he was “just on a conference call where farmers were trying to figure out the nutrient value of milk to spread on their farms for fertilizer.” Yes. Things have gotten that bad. And those who can sell their products, he noted, are often selling them at reduced prices.

When asked what agriculture would look like once the pandemic calms down, Duncan answered “tell me what American consumer’s habits are going to be on the other side of this virus, and I’ll tell you what agriculture will look like.”

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