A bright spot during the pandemic has been the resilience of the food supply, which kept staples on shelves. But now state attorneys general in New York, Texas and West Virginia are taking aim at farmers—and the market forces—that helped keep eggs on Americans’ plates.
What did the farmers do to run allegedly afoul of the law? They responded to an unprecedented increase in demand for retail groceries, including eggs, by selling eggs at prevailing market prices, which rose in New York from about $1 for a dozen large eggs from January through early March to about $3 on April 1. During normal times, our economy relies on price adjustments to avoid shortages.
The California almond industry is large, dynamic, and closely linked to other parts of agriculture and the California economy. Almonds generate billions of dollars of direct economic activity and interactions with complimentary industries create a linked chain of indirect economic impacts from the production and processing of almonds. Despite relatively low prices during the 2017/2018 crop year, wholesale revenue of California almonds was $7.4 billion and the industry generated 110 thousand jobs in California.
Marketplace / August 6, 2020
Agricultural economist Dan Sumner at the University of California, Davis, said that’s when dairy farmers started ramping up production.
“They have added some heifer calves that might have not made the cut a year ago,” he said. “They’ve kept an old cow on a few more months that might not have been profitable a year or two ago.”
All those bare shelves? “They were dramatic, but not emblematic,” says Daniel Sumner, PhD, a distinguished professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis. Early on, panicked consumers raced to stockpile canned goods, rice, dried beans, and other staples, creating eerie impressions of scarcity in stores. But the food supply chain has remained surprisingly strong, according to Sumner. “It’s much more resilient and solid now than I would have thought 2 months ago.”
Date: June 16, 2020
Co-hosted by: UC Davis Global Affairs, UC Davis World Food Center, in collaboration with ISAM-International School of Agri Management
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted agricultural supply chains within the United States and worldwide. A panel of experts from academia, industry and the non-profit sector will discuss how the pandemic has disrupted global supply chains in the near-term. Looking ahead, they will offer an assessment of COVID 19’s long-run impact on global agricultural trade and how we can prepare for similar crises in the future. It is also part of the Campus Global Theme: Food for Thought: Feeding Ourselves, Feeding the Planet.
- Flavio Alzueta, former vice president and chief marketing officer, GLOBALG.A.P and professor at ISAM-International School of Agri Management in Almería, Spain
- Shakira Phiri, investment promotion officer at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism in Malawi, and 2018-19 Mandela Washington Fellow at UC Davis
- Gloria E. Polanco, General Manager of FRUTESA (Frutas Tropicales de Guatemala, S.A.)
- Daniel Sumner, Frank H. Buck, Jr. Distinguished Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, director of the University of California Agricultural Issues Center
- Ermias Kebreab, director, of the UC Davis World Food Center, associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Global Engagement, and professor and Sesnon Endowed Chair in animal science, UC Davis
Dr. Fernanda Ferreira (CE Specialist, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine) discusses with AIC Director Dr. Daniel Sumner and Annie AcMoody (Economist, Western United Dairies) how COVID-19 has impacted dairy markets.
There is as much food as there has ever been in the fields, but it is not making it to grocery store shelves. Join us for a conversation with an expert panel of researchers, policymakers, and food distributors about how our food supply chain works, why it’s faltering during the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether changes should be made to make it more resilient.
AIC Director Dan Sumner will be presenting.
Monday, April 27th
The virtual townhall was co-chaired by Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committee Chairs, Assemblymember Susan Eggman & Senator Cathleen Galgiani.
Opening remarks were by Jamie Johansson, President of the California Farm Bureau Federation. Other presenters included Roland Fumasi, Ph.D., Vice President, Senior Analyst and Manager, Rabo Research Food & Agribusiness at Rabobank; and Daniel Kowalski, Vice President, Knowledge Exchange Division, CoBank.
By Ellen M. Bruno, Richard J. Sexton, and Daniel A. Sumner
The spread of COVID-19, and the public responses and policies it has engendered, have interrupted some food availability and prompted concerns among consumers about the reliability of the food supply chain. Some farm producers have faced plummeting prices, while some prices, especially at retail, have spiked. We seek to explain what has been happening within the food supply chain and what is likely to happen as society deals with the pandemic and its aftermath. Our main conclusion is that, despite worrisome but understandable disruptions, the food system in the United States is resilient and there is little reason for alarm about food availability.