COVID-19 makes huge impact on U.S. economy

NDSU Extension
Farm Forum

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe disruptions throughout the U.S. red meat and poultry industry.

As a result, consumers may find limited availability of some meat items at grocery stores, while meat and poultry producers may not be able to find a market for livestock and poultry ready to harvest. Plus, consumers may see higher prices for preferred meat products.

“The function of the price system is to prevent shortages and surpluses,” says Tim Petry, North Dakota State University Extension livestock economist. “That works very well until a sudden shock such as the pandemic unexpectedly disrupts the system.”

In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s April 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, the USDA was projecting record U.S. beef, pork, chicken and total meat production in 2020. Just one month later, the May 12 WASDE report estimated declines in meat production for 2020 due to COVID-19-related issues. Expectations now are for beef production to decline 5%, with pork production down about 1% and chicken production off only slightly, with total meat production declining 1.6%.

More information about COVID-19’s impact on the red meat and poultry industry is available in a new monthly newsletter, Agriculture By the Numbers, written by Extension specialists in NDSU’s Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department. Other topics in the first issue are the short- and intermediate-term food demands and consumer spending related to COVID-19, the immediate impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. corn ethanol industry, and the challenge of trying to anticipate what market adjustments will occur because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Each issue will tackle current events related to agricultural issues in North Dakota and the Upper Great Plains region, as well as how national issues may affect state agricultural and energy issues,” says Bryon Parman, NDSU Extension agricultural finance specialist.

To receive the newsletter, contact David Ripplinger, NDSU Extension bioproducts/bioenergy economist, at