Ag News

UGA CAES reports results from survey on COVID-19 impact on ag

by Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Feb 03, 2021 at 0:00 AM

A survey by the UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development revealed farmers' concerns about the health impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, UGA researchers revealed during the annual Ag Forecast, held virtually on Jan. 29.

Dr. Sharon Kane, a senior public service associate with the CAES Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development, encouraged Georgia farmers to participate in the Year-End COVID-19 Impact Study she is conducting. The participation deadline has been extended to Feb. 15. It initially ran from Dec. to Jan. 15. Please visit to take the survey.

“It’s a pretty big undertaking to try to get this type of information from farmers,” said Kane. “We knew when we took the initial survey last May we were going to need more information as people were wrapping up their year-end books for tax purposes.”

Current survey responses show that most farmers who responded to the survey estimate about 20% of their losses [due to COVID] have been or will be covered by relief programs.

The Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) was the top relief program reported in both the May and initial year-end surveys. A number of respondents said that they were not participating in any program.

“The more information we can gather, the more we feel we can understand what’s going on [regarding COVID’s impact on agriculture],” Kane added.

Of all commodities, livestock was the most affected in the spring and initial year-end surveys. The top issues across all commodities were low prices and lack of markets in both surveys. As the year went on, more respondents were concerned about the health and emotional impacts of the pandemic.

“We were surprised to see the difference in responses to the survey’s health concern question from the spring to year-end survey,” Kane said.

The percentage of survey participants who said they were very concerned about the health impact COVID-19 is having on agriculture rose from 29.4% in the spring survey to 53.1% in the initial year-end survey. Survey participants who said they were very concerned about the emotional impact COVID-19 is having on members of the ag community rose from 35.7% last May to 45.9% in the initial year-end survey.

Both Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture are supporting the UGA CAES in its efforts to conduct the COVID-19 Impact Study on Agriculture and encourage Georgia farmers and agribusiness owners to participate. 

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