ReboundMaking Ends Meet


Texas' agriculture industry losses from pandemic could be $6 to 8 billion

Posted at 7:29 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 20:29:24-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — A new report issued from Texas A&M predicts the state's agricultural losses could be in the billions.

Many Texas producers have already experienced losses due to the pandemic, and if prices do not recover soon, ranchers and farmers could easily see their profits dwindle by six to eight dollars.

For local farmers in the Brazos Valley, many have been unable to adapt quickly to the supply and demand changes.

"When it comes to farming, things are really planned in advanced and very cyclical. It takes a lot of preparation," explained Chirstopher Jaffe with BCS Chicken. "Unexpected changes really kind of rock the system.”

With schools and restaurants closed for weeks, the state’s agriculture community had limited places to sell their products, automatically affecting market prices.

“The biggest impacts that have been faced so far are fruit, vegetable farmers in the valley, diary producers and beef producers in this state,” explained Joe Outlaw Ph.D.,Texas A&M AgrLife Extension Service agricultural economist.

The federal government has issued COVID-19 relief for farmers and ranchers, which has allowed for minimal relief in the grand scheme of things.

“The government assistance helps provide, in my words, "gives them enough assistance so they can try again next year,"" said Outlaw.

Local poultry farmer Christopher Jagge can’t keep up with demand. He's selling out of his butchered chickens and won’t be able to increase production until later on in the fall.

"I am still stuck in a kind of pre-pandemic supply-demand cycle even though that’s not the world we’re living in right now,” he said.

Row crops are expected to take a hit as they are currently being planted to harvest in fall, producers are taking on a lot of risks, if the market price doesn’t rise.

"They aren’t expecting to make very much to any money, so if anything backs up and that price falls even further then it's going to be a complete disaster," explained Outlaw.

Farmers and ranchers are anxiously waiting for another stimulus package expected to be announced as early as next week.