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Coronavirus outbreak roils farm commodity prices

The coronavirus outbreak has had a major negative impact on farm commodity prices in the US. The futures markets — futures prices are the markets’ expectations of what a commodity’s value will be at a specific future point — for some major agricultural commodities have taken a beating recently, Sean Ellis of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation reports in Post Register.

“Some commodities have seen their prices tank just because of all the uncertainty right now,” said University of Idaho Agricultural Economist Ben Eborn. “Things are super volatile right now. Everyone is trying to figure out what’s going to happen.”

The fallout from the coronavirus response has begun to drag down what were until very recently good potato prices. Surging demand for fresh potatoes at the retail level has not been enough to offset a screeching halt to demand for potatoes and potato products at restaurants and other food service channels.

The drop-off in demand for potato products through food service channels has Idaho Potato Commission employees basically working around the clock to try to address the issue, said IPC President and CEO Frank Muir.

That includes working with shippers, retailers and food service customers to redirect a large amount of potatoes from food service to retail, Muir said.

Read the full report in Post Register here
Photo: Potatoes are harvested in a southeast Idaho field in 2019 | Shaun Ellis

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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