The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank says COVID-19 has created substantial challenges for all segments of the meat supply chain, but especially for producers and consumers.
Beginning in April 2020, outbreaks of COVID-19 at meatpacking plants led to significant disruptions and created issues of oversupply and low prices for livestock producers.
The spread of COVID-19 among employees led to closures and slowdowns at many meatpacking plants. Closures were especially prominent in beef and pork industries.
The agricultural economy had been in a prolonged downturn before the pandemic, intensifying concerns of how COVID-19 and disruptions in the meat production could affect farm finances.
The KC Fed says greater financial difficulties for livestock producers could add to stress in agricultural lending portfolios that already had increased before the pandemic. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, agricultural lenders in the bank district were already more pessimistic about the livestock sector’s credit conditions.
Almost 20 percent of agricultural lenders expect lower loan repayment rates on hog and dairy operations.