COVID-19

Farmers are struggling in the pandemic economy

Peggy Lowe Jul 20, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Dairy cows in a field at Grazing Plains Farm near Newton in central Kansas. Courtesy of Jason Schmidt
COVID-19

Farmers are struggling in the pandemic economy

Peggy Lowe Jul 20, 2020
Dairy cows in a field at Grazing Plains Farm near Newton in central Kansas. Courtesy of Jason Schmidt
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Farmers already hard hit by a trade war are now facing huge economic hurdles because of COVID-19. Emergency aid from the federal government is helping — this year, payments total about $33 billion, according to the University of Missouri’s Food & Agricultural Policy Research Institute. Despite that, many farmers are still struggling and wonder how they will make it through the year, including a Kansas farmer who is operating on about half of what he thought he’d make.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are people still waiting for unemployment payments?

Yes. There is no way to know exactly how many people have been waiting for months and are still not getting unemployment, because states do not have a good system in place for tracking that kind of data, according to Andrew Stettner of The Century Foundation. But by his own calculations, only about 60% of people who have applied for benefits are currently receiving them. That means there are millions still waiting. Read more here on what they are doing about it.

Are we going to see another wave of grocery store shortages?

Well, public health officials are warning that we could see a second wave of the virus before the end of the year. And this time retailers want to be prepared if there’s high demand for certain products. But they can’t rely totally on predictive modeling. People’s shopping habits have ebbed and flowed depending on the state of COVID-19 cases or lockdowns. So, grocers are going to have to trust their guts.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out Tuesday from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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