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New York Farm Bureau releases COVID-19 impact survey on food system

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Tue, Jul 21st 2020 01:35 pm

New York Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization, unveiled the results of a member survey that found 65% of the state’s farms and agribusinesses have been negatively impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 500 NYFB members participated in the informal survey conducted in mid-June that asked a dozen wide-ranging questions about the rural economy, health and safety of farm families and their employees, as well as access to necessary personal protective equipment (PPEs). Respondents also described how they were personally affected. Here are some key findings.

√ 43% of farms have lost sales during the pandemic.

√ More than a third of farms and agribusinesses (37%) are experiencing cash flow issues.

√ Almost half (47%) say they have reduced spending to local vendors and suppliers or will do so in the future.

√ An overwhelming majority of farms (84%) have a plan in place to train and assist their employees to mitigate the spread of the virus.

√ 46% of respondents say they are concerned about their mental health or that of someone they know.

“What we found with this survey is that no farm was untouched by the pandemic or the economic fallout,” New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said. “All of this underscores the need to continue to invest in our food system while also making health and safety a priority. Farmers are doing their best to make sure food production doesn’t stop, but we need to maintain the ability to process, distribute and market what we produce. As the state and federal governments look toward potential budget cuts and additional COVID-19 assistance, agriculture must be a part of the discussion. It really does take all of us working together to have a strong, sustainable food system that supports the farm community and feeds yours.”

Click here to review the full survey report. Click here to view this morning’s virtual press briefing.

Participants on the press call:

  • David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau president
  • Jeff Williams, NYFB public policy director
  • Kim Skellie, El-VI Farms in Wayne County and NYFB state director
  • Jim Bittner, Bittner-Singer Orchards in Niagara County
  • Judi Whittaker, Whittaker Farms in Broome County
  • Sarah Dressel-Nikles, Dressel Farms in Ulster County
  • Tony LaPierre, Rusty Creek Farm in Clinton County and NYFB state director
  • Bill Zalakar, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses and Long Island Farm Bureau president

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