COVID-19 Economic Implications for Agriculture, Food, and Rural America
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its associated economic impacts have implications for agriculture, food, and rural America.
ERS’ research program considers links in the farm-to-consumer supply chain that may be affected by the pandemic, including farms, processors, handlers, retail outlets, and trade. ERS also examines the economic impacts of the pandemic on consumers, food assistance program participants, residents of rural America, and farmers.
This page highlights ERS research and data that can help interpret and understand the emerging economic impacts of the pandemic. The page will be updated as more information becomes available.
See also Resources for the Media.
Topics Covered by ERS COVID-19-Related Research
ERS COVID-19-related research and data address impacts related to these key subjects:
- U.S. obesity rates grew in most regions during first year of pandemic
- Emergency allotments central to SNAP spending growth during pandemic
- Obesity rates among U.S. adults increased during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Share of income spent on food increased 13 percent in 2022, led by food-away-from-home spending
- Total participation in WIC increased in fiscal year 2022, first rise in more than a decade
- U.S. households with children headed by single females used food pantries more than others over last two decades
- China remains the world’s largest meat importer despite recent declines
- U.S. consumers’ food spending hit record high in 2022
- Total spending on USDA’s food and nutrition assistance programs fell in FY 2022, but still higher than before pandemic
ERS has established a temporary Working Paper series to provide timely research on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food system, consumers, producers, and the economy. This series serves as a vehicle for publishing initial research and analysis on topics relevant to understanding the impacts of the pandemic in a short time frame. The series is not intended to be a long-term publishing series, but one used to disseminate research relevant to the current national pandemic, during the pandemic.
The Working Papers are subject to an expedited review process by ERS economists and social scientists. The findings and conclusions in the Working Papers are those of the authors and should not be construed to represent any official USDA or U.S. Government determination or policy.
- COVID-19 Working Paper: Unpriced Commodity Inventory and COVID-19 Pandemic Assistance
- COVID-19 Working Paper: Distribution and Examination of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments and Forgivable Paycheck Protection Program Loans at the State Level in 2020
- COVID-19 Working Paper: Obesity Prevalence Among U.S. Adult Subpopulations During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic
- COVID-19 Working Paper: Food-Away-From-Home Acquisition Trends Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic
- COVID-19 Working Paper: Consumer Food Spending Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- COVID-19 Working Paper: National Trends in Food Retail Sales During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) Retail-Based Scanner Data
- Migration, Local Mobility, and the Spread of COVID-19 in Rural America
- The COVID-19 Pandemic and Changes in Greenfield Foreign Direct Investment in Africa
- Farm Sector Financial Ratios: Pre-COVID Forecasts and Pandemic Performance for 2020
- Food Insecurity During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Four African Countries
- Single Commodity Export Dependence and the Impacts of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa
- The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Food-Away-From-Home Spending
- COVID-19 and the U.S. Meat and Poultry Supply Chains
- U.S.-Mexico Agricultural Trade in 2020
- Changes in Regional Hog Slaughter During COVID-19
- The COVID-19 Pandemic and Food Security in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Review of the Emerging Microeconomic Literature
- Filling the Pandemic Meal Gap: Disruptions to Child Nutrition Programs and Expansion of Free Meal Sites in the Early Months of the Pandemic
- Meatpacking Working Conditions and the Spread of COVID-19
- Financial Assistance for Farm Operations and Farm Households in the Face of COVID-19
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Redemptions during the Coronavirus Pandemic
- The Effects of COVID-19 on Food Sales
- International Food Security Assessment, 2020-2030: COVID-19 Update and Impacts of Food Insecurity
- A Timely Tool for Evaluating Financial Conditions in Agriculture: USDA Forecasts of the Value of Production in the Face of COVID-19
- Shares of Commodity Consumption at Home, Restaurants, Fast Food Places, Schools, and Other Away-from-Home Places: 2013-16
ERS Commodity Outlook Reports will account for, and discuss, the economic implications of COVID-19 on the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). Latest reports:
- Selected Weekly Fruit Movement and Price describes the change in shipment volume, farm prices, and retail prices of select fruit for the week noted. Volume and prices reflect weekly marketing and supply chain conditions which can be affected by various factors including pests, weather, imports, exports, retail promotions, and labor disruptions.
- Selected Weekly Vegetable Movement and Price describes the change in shipment volume, farm prices, and retail prices of select vegetables for the week noted. Volume and prices reflect weekly marketing and supply chain conditions which can be affected by various factors including pests, weather, imports, exports, retail promotions, and labor disruptions.
- Find the latest on COVID-19 directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.coronavirus.gov.
- USDA COVID-19 FAQs provides answers to questions frequently asked by USDA customers, stakeholders, and the general public. Find FAQs related to ERS under “Economic Research.”
- EPA Disinfectant List
- FEMA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
- Frequently Asked Questions from the CDC
- Homeland Security Resources
- State Department Travel Information
- World Health Organization