With planting season underway, agriculture feels economic downturn

Tractors and planters were rolling in fields all across Boone County during a dry weather period last week. At the same time, the agriculture economy was being hit by an economic downturn.
Much of the downward pressure on markets is tied to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has led to closing of many businesses, rising unemployment and economic contraction.
All aspects of the agricultural economy are now feeling the effects of the coronavirus, and recovery is expected to be slow in coming.
Both crop and livestock markets have been impacted across the U.S. and Nebraska, and the situation is serious.
Fortunately, some federal help is coming in the form of a $19 billion program that combines direct payments to producers and $3 billion in commodity purchases for distribution through food banks and faith-based organizations.
Livestock markets have been hardest hit. Cattle markets have dropped 25 to 27 percent since early February, and hog markets are down at least 22 percent over the same period.
Complete story in the April 29 Albion News print and e-editions.