Ag News

Survey: 82% of farmers have lost revenue because of COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19, 82% of Georgia farmers lost revenue, according to an impact survey conducted by the UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development (CAED).

Some of the state’s leading agricultural organizations, including Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB), the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) and the Georgia Grown program supported the survey by publicizing it and collecting responses. A total of 862 farmers statewide responded to the survey, which was held May 1-21.

It is important to note that COVID-19 statistics, policies and circumstances continue to evolve, and a follow-up survey is planned to gauge those changes.

Some key findings from the survey:

• Farmers who experienced a decline in weekly sales reported an average revenue decline of $8,500 per week and those who anticipated an annual loss, on average expected to lose $49,000.

• Farmers were more concerned with the potential financial impact of the pandemic than they were about getting sick or the emotional strain from the COVID-19 situation. Of the respondents, 25% were significantly concerned with low prices created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lack of market opportunities accounted for another 19% of those with significant concerns. Respondents reported only slight concerns with availability of farm inputs, access to working capital and lack of markets.

• More than half of the farmers indicated they implemented social distancing measures to protect themselves and their customers. Approximately 20% provided protective equipment to their employees. Only 5% indicated that they closed their operations because of COVID-19.

• Nearly 70% of the farmers indicated they were not participating in any relief program while only 22% were participating in a federal program. Those that were participating were most likely to have used the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). More than three-quarters of the farmers indicated that these COVID relief programs would not provide sufficient relief.

• Livestock producers indicated that they experienced significant losses due to COVID-19.

The survey report can be viewed online at www.gfb.ag/COVID19impactstudy.  For more information about the survey contact UGA Assistant Dean for Extension Dr. Mark McCann at mmccnn@uga.edu  or  706-542-3824.

GFB has assembled a collection of resources for those affected by the pandemic. That information can be accessed at www.gfb.org/advocacy/covid19resources.cms.