Pandemic Updates for California Agriculture
In recent months we’ve been bringing you occasional updates on COVID-19 related news for California Agriculture. Here is another one of those updates.
Despite high unemployment rates during the pandemic, California farmers say they continue having trouble filling their harvest crews. At the same time, farmers have stressed the need to maintain employee health and safety. The California Farm Bureau launched a new round of public-service announcements last week with COVID-19 safety messages.
Rules governing the federal Paycheck Protection Program have made it difficult for many farmers to qualify for the program, which helps employers meet their payroll obligations during the pandemic. The American Farm Bureau Federation says fewer than 2% of employers in agriculture and related sectors have received loans through the program. It supports legislation in Congress making technical fixes to help more farmers participate.
Pandemic-related effects on top of other concerns have led California farmers to plant less cotton this year. The pandemic brought mill closures around the world and has caused people to buy less new clothing. Those factors, plus inventory from last year's crop, trade disputes and water shortages, prompted California farmers to cut cotton acreage 20% compared to a year ago. Harvest will start this fall.
(Source: California Farm Bureau)