COVID-19 Relief Programs Have Kept U.S. Farm Income High but Shortchanged California Producers

Aaron Smith

from ARE Update Vol. 24, No. 3, Jan/Feb, 2021

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Abstract

Since 1950, the only years with higher real net farm income than 2020 were 1973–74 and 2011–14. This high income was facilitated by two waves of COVID-19 relief payments totaling $23.8 billion. A third wave is set to occur in 2021. Most of these payments were determined by seemingly arbitrary formulas and were only weakly tied to pandemic-induced losses. Corn, soybeans, cattle, and milk are the four largest value commodities in the country and they received a disproportionately large share of payments. Specialty crops and dairy, which California specializes in, received some support, but much less as a percent of gross farm income. Congress has allocated a further $13 billion to farmers for COVID-19 relief, most of which is slated to go to the major row crops, livestock, and biofuels.

Citation

Aaron Smith. 2021. "COVID-19 Relief Programs Have Kept U.S. Farm Income High but Shortchanged California Producers." ARE Update 24(3): 5-8. University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.
https://giannini.ucop.edu/filer/file/1613691580/19988/