One challenge facing the agriculture sector is falling global meat consumption as a result of restaurant closures and COVID-19 outbreaks at meat processing plants. US per capita meat consumption could continue to drop until 2025 according to the University of Missouri’s Food & Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI). Some analysts have also suggested that meat consumption will decline in key US export markets which could result in a sharp decline in meat prices. Farmers are also faced with the challenge of adapting to climate change and investing in climate friendly practices.
Many US farmers relied on government stimulus programs in 2020. FAPRI estimates that federal farm payments will fall from $32 billion in 2020 to $16 billion in 2021 and that without a strong economic recovery, farm income could decrease by more than $10 billion. Many farmer organizations have argued that stimulus programs are insufficient and unsustainable in the long term. These organizations instead advocate for solutions like revenue based payments, increased loan forbearance and effective climate change mitigation strategies.
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