Nebraska Farm Bureau Estimates $2.4 Billion in Potential Pandemic Ag Losses

June 10, 2020, 12:11 p.m. ·

Nebraska Farm Bureau Agency President Steve Nelson said they are trying to figure out the effects of COVID-19 on the farm economy.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates potential revenue losses of livestock and crops to be around $2.4 billion this year because of the pandemic. Senior Economist Jay Rempe said the losses could come as the result of the shutdown of the hotel and restaurant industry as well as the shock to the supply system from processing slowdowns.

“It was kind of a one-two punch,” Rempe said. “And oftentimes the industry can deal with a single punch, a demand shock, but when you get both the demand and supply shock that is really unprecedented. And so that is what the industry is struggling with.”

Rempe said he thinks the recovery of the agriculture industry in Nebraska is contingent on how the economy bounces back as a whole and if exports improve over the next year. The Farm Bureau analysis was based on commodity prices from January to May of this year. The Farm Bureau also estimates Nebraska's ethanol industry could lose around $1.3 billion this year.