Economist: Michigan had lion’s share of ag impacts from COVID

A recent study by Michigan State University found the coronavirus pandemic decreased ag economic output in the state by nearly 20 percent and dropped sales by more than $2 billion because of the impacts on producers.

Economist Steve Miller tells Brownfield he studied five agri-food supply chains including row crops, livestock, tree fruits, vegetables, and dairy based on available national data.

“Because much of that agricultural production is labor-intensive, Michigan may have gotten a lion’s share of the economic impacts of resulting from production interruptions.”

He says while several commodities have seen significant disruptions as more consumers eat at home, some have seen an uptick in demand and have benefited from the pandemic like dry beans and pantry staples.

“Pork and tart cherries aren’t consumed at home as much as at the restaurants, we see a new, potentially lower norm for those commodities moving forward.”

Miller says another factor benefiting Michigan agriculture during the pandemic has been the recent investment in processing for a wide range of commodities.

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