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. consumers spent more money on food away from home than food at home in 2021, returning to pre-pandemic trend
- U.S. retail cotton use rebounded in 2021
- Spending dropped at all types of food-away-from-home outlets in first year of COVID-19 pandemic
- Property income’s share of the food dollar reached 20-year high in 2020
- Higher retail meat prices during COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted U.S. households in 2020
- Labor force participation decreased less in rural areas than in urban areas at the onset of COVID-19 pandemic
- Food services industry share of food dollar shrank in 2020 after 8 consecutive years of growth
- Per capita red meat and poultry consumption expected to decrease modestly in 2022
- Quick-service restaurants recovered faster than full-service after consumer spending fell in 2020
- Prevalence of child food insecurity increased significantly among Hispanic households with children in 2020
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: Single Commodity Export Dependence and the Impacts of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa
- COVID-19 Working Paper: The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Food-Away-From-Home Spending
- COVID-19 Working Paper: COVID-19 and the U.S. Meat and Poultry Supply Chains
- COVID-19 Working Paper: U.S.-Mexico Agricultural Trade in 2020
- COVID-19 Working Paper: Changes in Regional Hog Slaughter During COVID-19
- COVID-19 Working Paper: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Food Security in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Review of the Emerging Microeconomic Literature
- COVID-19 Working Paper: Filling the Pandemic Meal Gap: Disruptions to Child Nutrition Programs and Expansion of Free Meal Sites in the Early Months of the Pandemic
- COVID-19 Working Paper: Meatpacking Working Conditions and the Spread of COVID-19
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