Tuesday, April 7, 2020  
Charts |  Futures |  Options |  Portfolio |  Weather 
 Home/Michigan Corn
 Headline News and Commentary
 Weather Station
 Futures & Cash Prices
 Local Cash Grain Bids
 Admin Login
- DTN Headline News
Coronavirus Actions Puts Strain on Ag
Monday, April 6, 2020 8:06AM CDT
By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- Southwest Minnesota cattle producer Peter Bakken has seen prices for his beef collapse under the weight of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pain is being felt across all segments of the industry. From dairy farmers being forced to dump milk in fields, to ranchers taking big hits from falling beef prices, to corn, cotton and soybean futures tumbling, to ethanol plants being idled -- the industry is looking for help.

Reuters reported on Friday that biofuels industry groups have asked the Credit Commodity Corporation for a bailout.

The pain is being felt far and wide.

Bakken said he, like some others in the industry, is questioning the future of his farm.

"Where we're at right now -- four generations of work to keep the operation going -- and this is a management nightmare," he said during an American Farm Bureau Federation press call on Friday.

"We're looking at the potential of having to recover from a million-dollar loss."

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus law provides $9.5 billion to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to provide financial support to farmers and ranchers, as well as $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau, said on Friday's call that even though there is a combined $23.5 billion in the CARES Act for agriculture, "We're going to find out very quickly that amount of money is not going to sustain our farmers through this difficult time."

Duvall added that Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue had asked for more aid than Congress approved.

Questions also remain about the Small Business Administration and whether the agency is following congressional intent regarding treatment of farmers and the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which was modified in the CARES Act.

The EIDL program allows low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses. But SBA specifically states on its website the program is for "non-farm, private sector disaster loans." Under the CARES Act, the program was expanded and references "small agricultural cooperatives." The program also set up funds for individual grants to small businesses of up to $10,000.

Paul Schlegel, AFBF vice president of public affairs, said it was important for farmers to find certainty.

"We are not telling famers to go to their community banks," he said. "We're trying to get clarity from SBA on this. We don't have 100% clarity on this issue just yet."

In addition, Schlegel said AFBF is working with state organizations to figure out the best ways to help growers as much as possible when it comes to the available funds.

"There is an immediate need out there," he said. "This is a fluid situation, and we're learning as we go as to what the needs are."

Although beef retail prices have been rising and grocery store shelves emptying during the crisis from higher demand, AFBF said the price farmers receive has fallen 25%.

As ethanol plants across the country have been slowing and shutting down production, cattle producers continue to watch feed availability closely.

Bakken said several plants in his region have closed operations.

"The plant I get feed from is still operating," he said, but is concerned about having that supply of dried distillers grains shut off as well.

When it comes to dairy, Twitter has been replete with videos and photos of producers dumping milk in fields because of an oversupplied market.

COVID-19 disrupted supply chains and led to a drop in milk prices by 26% to 36%, according to AFBF.

Idaho Falls, Idaho, dairy farmer Alan Reed said his operation has been hit hard by food-service shutdowns. Though business remains robust for home deliveries of cheese, milk and ice cream, the dairy also is oversupplied.

In addition, Reed said his farm is seeing little customer traffic in its dairy stores.

"It's puzzling we have a product and no place to go with it," he said. "Hopefully, that will turn around at some point."

Florida vegetable farmer James Alderman said, because food services have closed down, it also has created an oversupply of some of his commodities.

Alderman operates a 1,200-acre mostly organic veggie farm in Palm Beach County. Though he said he continues to have a "decent" retail business, the loss of food services is forcing him to throw produce away.

For instance, in 85-degree temperatures, his farm is picking squash and leaving it on the ground because the price received is far below the costs of production.

"It looks a little bleak in that arena," he said. "We have no market for the product, prices are down 100% or more from a couple of weeks ago. We're in a bad situation. This is something that nobody has ever seen."

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Editorial Staff
Monday, April 6, 2020 12:00PM CDT
Friday, April 3, 2020 5:20PM CDT
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 2:29PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Editorial Staff
Monday, April 6, 2020 8:47AM CDT
Monday, March 30, 2020 8:58AM CDT
Monday, March 23, 2020 9:20AM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 11:05AM CDT
Monday, March 30, 2020 10:40AM CDT
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:56PM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 6:48PM CDT
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 12:41PM CDT
Monday, March 30, 2020 4:46PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Thursday, April 2, 2020 2:13PM CDT
Thursday, March 26, 2020 12:44PM CDT
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 12:18PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Friday, April 3, 2020 5:07PM CDT
Friday, March 27, 2020 1:45PM CDT
Friday, March 20, 2020 5:43PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Monday, April 6, 2020 2:28PM CDT
Monday, March 30, 2020 3:11PM CDT
Monday, March 23, 2020 3:43PM CDT
South America Calling
Editorial Staff
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 2:57PM CDT
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 1:44PM CDT
Wednesday, March 4, 2020 3:35PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Friday, March 20, 2020 8:30AM CDT
Monday, March 2, 2020 10:03AM CDT
Thursday, February 20, 2020 1:35PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Dan Miller
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Friday, April 3, 2020 3:05PM CDT
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 11:15AM CDT
Thursday, March 26, 2020 1:52PM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Monday, April 6, 2020 4:48PM CDT
Friday, April 3, 2020 4:39PM CDT
Thursday, April 2, 2020 3:51PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 12:53PM CDT
Thursday, March 5, 2020 5:06PM CDT
Friday, November 22, 2019 5:37PM CDT
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN