According to a survey done by the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) about the impacts members are seeing due to COVID-19 and the social distancing measures currently in place, 80 percent of wheat growers are moderately to highly concerned. Possible disruptions to labor appear to be the largest concern at this point, with 59 percent of respondents saying they’ve had no issues or disruptions with U.S. Department of Agriculture offices and programs.
WAWG is working alongside the National Association of Wheat Growers to gather grower feedback relating to the pandemic in order to better serve our members and rural communities, especially in light of the COVID-19 relief bill being signed into law. WAWG, along with other commodities, is also monitoring the situation at the state level where agriculture has been deemed “essential.” We want to make sure that all the moving parts of the industry continue running smoothly and with as little disruption as possible, and that we anticipate any potential issues or processes that might need extra attention.
Other interesting tidbits from the survey include:
- Respondents are concerned with the possible impacts of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures on the rural economy and rural businesses.
- 85 percent said access to credit has not yet been an issue but business is being conducted differently.
- 77 percent have not had any transportation challenges yet, but respondents are concerned about future uncertainty that could impact their ability to receive inputs, such as fertilizer and supplies.
- 65 percent said they were able to sign up for ARC/PLC with no issue but question if signing up for the 2020 crop year will be challenging.
- 85 percent said they’ve had no issues with crop insurance. However, some respondents noted that growing conditions have not been ideal, so this may become an issue in the future if claims need to be filed.
- Growers are concerned that the availability of parts, especially if this stretches into harvest, will become a major issue. Another potential harvest issue that growers are concerned about is the ability to find help.
- With the increased reliance on the internet, growers in areas where service is slow or unreliable are concerned about their ability to conduct business as normal.