ASA says soy growers are concerned about COVID-19
Stress levels are high among America’s soybean growers, according to a new survey by the American Soybean Association.
The survey, an initiative of the ASA COVID-19 Task Force, shows growers are concerned about health among workers, commodity prices, input delays, labor, and more.
Kevin Scott, a South Dakota farmer, is vice president of ASA.
“(Farmers) are fairly independent for the most part and we tend to live alone so there haven’t been a lot of social issues although it’s pretty depressing,” he says. “We have multiple meetings that we meet at year-round and we haven’t been able to do those face-to-face so there’s disruption there.”
More than 80 percent of farmers surveyed say they’re practicing social distancing and other practices to minimize exposure. Only three percent say they aren’t making any changes.
Scott says farmers surveyed also expressed a need for more assistance, so the administration’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It sounds like it will be coming sooner rather than later which is good because we’re needing now and the announcement was certainly welcome,” he says.
Other survey results included: 70 percent of growers are moderately or extremely concerned about their farm being impacted by COVID-19, 44 percent say the pandemic was affecting their farms, and 55 percent are unsure if the economic stimulus bill (CARES Act) offers adequate relief for agriculture.
Scott is chair of the ASA COVID-19 Task Force, a 12-person group of ASA board members and senior staff, state affiliate leaders, and representatives from the United Soybean Board and US Soybean Export Council.
More than 80 surveys were submitted, with answers from 26 of primary soybean-producing states.
Audio: Kevin Scott, American Soybean Association