- DTN Headline News
Virus Concerns Change Farmer Habits
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 1:55PM CDT
By DTN/Progressive Farmer Staff

OMAHA (DTN) -- Farmers are showing general concern about how the coronavirus pandemic will influence the coming crop year, their businesses in general and even their family's health, according to a current online poll conducted by DTN and data analytics company Farm Market iD. More than 69% of farmers polled don't have a prepared backup plan should they become sick with the virus themselves.

"We know that COVID-19 is taking a toll on populations around the world," said John Teeple, DTN senior vice president-agriculture. "Our farmers are entering a stressful planting season and now have to contend with the challenges associated with this global pandemic. They are on the front lines of ensuring that our world has food to eat."

Farmers were sent email invitations to take part in the poll, "Coronavirus Impact on the Farmer and the Business of Farming," starting March 27. Percentages quoted are as of late evening March 29, when more than 420 farmers had responded to a 23-question poll. The general levels have varied only a percentage point or two through the March 27-29 period. An open poll of this type has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.


When asked about the business effects of the virus, some 88% were at least somewhat worried the issue would hurt their business. Some 56% were either very worried or extremely worried about the issue hurting business. In a recent DTN/Progressive Farmer online poll held in mid-March, more than 70% of respondents said their main concern was the overall global economy; substantially fewer were worried about their specific business success.

When asked about health concerns, 84% had at least some concern that the virus would affect the health of family or friends. More than 46% were very worried to extremely worried about health issues.

A concerning point, given the relatively high number of respondents who were worried about health issues due to COVID-19, is that the vast majority of farmers -- 69% -- said they did not have a backup plan to continue current farming operations if they themselves got sick. It's not surprising, given that many farms are still single-proprietor or have few family members or employees as part of the operation. But it also speaks to the downsides of that limited business leadership and how it can be crippled when the unexpected happens.


The poll included a number of questions that were exploring how farmers were changing behavior due to the coronavirus issue. At least 50% of farmers had taken steps ranging from meeting less and being more careful with money expenditures. More than 85% were taking steps such as practicing social distancing and putting more effort into washing hands or using hand sanitizers regularly.

Farmers also were looking to various input suppliers and other vendors to work with them during this pandemic period.

More than half of farmers were looking for improved flexibility in pick-up and delivery of supplies and thought that suppliers should offer flexible financing terms. Some 68% were looking for price reductions from suppliers. The most popular expectation, with 71% of respondents agreeing to the need, was for more communications and openness from farm suppliers.

"The survey results indicate that farmers are delaying large purchases and instituting conservative farming decisions," said Steve Rao, CEO of Farm Market iD. "Agribusinesses should take notice to the challenges this presents their businesses.


Farmers were also asked about their support for the Trump administration and how officials were handling the coronavirus pandemic. It's been well documented that the president has strong support in farm country. More than 70% of respondents said they were satisfied with the response to the virus by the administration.

"This may be an important and early indicator for the 2020 presidential election, as we found that 90% of respondents plan to vote in the fall," said Steve Matthesen, CEO of DTN. "If they were pressed to vote today, more than 80% would vote for the current administration."


Editor's note: To encourage response to this timely coronavirus poll, DTN and Farm Market iD are each making a $1,000 donation to Feeding America (www.feedingamerica.org ) to support that organization's 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries.

Email Talk@dtn.com with comments or questions

(AG/CZ )

blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Editorial Staff
Friday, April 3, 2020 11:58AM CDT
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 2:29PM CDT
Monday, March 30, 2020 12:04PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Editorial Staff
Monday, March 30, 2020 8:58AM CDT
Monday, March 23, 2020 9:20AM CDT
Monday, March 16, 2020 8:56AM 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
Thursday, April 2, 2020 5:50PM CDT
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 6:48PM CDT
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 12:41PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Thursday, April 2, 2020 2:13PM CDT
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 2:38PM CDT
Thursday, March 26, 2020 12:44PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Friday, March 27, 2020 1:45PM CDT
Friday, March 20, 2020 5:43PM CDT
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 4:34PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Monday, March 30, 2020 3:11PM CDT
Monday, March 23, 2020 3:43PM CDT
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 3:02PM 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
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 1:27PM CDT
Friday, March 20, 2020 8:30AM CDT
Monday, March 9, 2020 5:22PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Dan Miller
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 11:15AM CDT
Thursday, March 26, 2020 1:52PM CDT
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 11:13AM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Thursday, April 2, 2020 3:51PM CDT
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 4:59PM CDT
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 4:34PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 12:53PM CDT
Monday, March 16, 2020 11:29AM CDT
Thursday, March 5, 2020 5:06PM CDT
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN