The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the farming community in a variety of ways for the past nine months. But several questions remain regarding the depth of that impact and how farmers plan to overcome. To better understand the COVID-19 impacts on the state’s agriculture community the Washington state Department of Agriculture, the University of Washington and Washington State University have teamed up to survey farm country to see how producers have weathered 2020.
Hector Castro with the WSDA says they will ask about lost market share, and lower profits, but also challenges that may be tougher to measure, such as what’s worked during the pandemic, what hasn’t and how farmers are feeling about the future. He said this survey is not just for those that were hit the hardest during COVID-19, but any producer with a story to tell.
“This survey is for everyone, all of the farm and ranch operation. That would be part of the information, that would be part of the important data is to get a handle on the sort of the variance in how operations were affected.”
Castro said the hope is to learn more about the economic resiliency of the state’s farm operations, how they adapt, or recover from an unforeseen event such as the pandemic.
“It would be made, of course, available to academics, but the hope is also that this would help inform policy makers and decision makers as they work to try to find ways to help those in the agricultural community deal with the results of this pandemic.”
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