Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of New York’s farms and agribusinesses have been “negatively impacted financially” by the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s according to a survey that the New York Farm Bureau (NYFB) released on Tuesday. The New York Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization.
More than 500 NYFB members participated in the informal survey conducted in mid-June. Those participating responded to a dozen questions about the rural economy; health and safety of farm families and their employees; and access to necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).
The survey also found that 43 percent of farms have lost sales during the pandemic; more than a third of farms and agribusinesses (37 percent) are experiencing cash flow issues; almost half (47 percent) say they have reduced spending to local vendors and suppliers or will do so in the future; and an “overwhelming” majority of farms (84 percent) have a plan in place to train and assist their employees to mitigate the spread of the virus.
In addition, the survey also found 46 percent 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,” David Fisher, president of the New York Farm Bureau, 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.”
Visual credit: New York Farm Bureau news release