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APR: Fall 2020 Articles

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Federal Food Policy Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Katherine Harris-Lagoudakis (kaharris@iastate.edu)
In the 2019 fiscal year, one in four US residents participated in one of USDA’s 15 food assistance programs. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to unprecedented spikes in unemployment as well as widespread school closures, has exacerbated already limited access to resources and sources of food for food insecure households. Harris-Lagoudakis examines how the federal governmental has addressed the effects of the pandemic by altering food policy and making changes to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, SNAP, and other USDA food assistance programs. She finds that the economic downturn and the emergency federal policy provisions have increased the number of SNAP participating households and the amount of benefits allotted to SNAP beneficiaries. However, the NSLP and SBP have faced significant challenges in providing free and reduced price meals to children at risk for food insecurity.

Upheaval in China’s Corn Market: Will China expand its Tariff Rate Quota for Corn?

Xi He (xihe@iastate.edu), Dermot Hayes (dhayes@iastate.edu), and Wendong Zhang (wdzhang@iastate.edu)
China’s has recently expanded its US agricultural product imports, partially due to the terms of the phase one trade deal and partially due to recent flooding in some of its largest agricultural-producing provinces (also examined in this issue of APR). He, Hayes, and Zhang examine recent price changes and changes in demand for corn in China and find that China will easily exceed its corn TRQ of 7.2 million metric tons in 2020.

Is the US Agricultural Sector Recovering from COVID-19?

Lee Schulz (lschulz@iastate.edu) and Chad Hart (chart@iastate.edu)
The COVID-19 pandemic has lowered the prices of US agricultural products, forced significant shifts in supply chains, and disrupted markets. Earlier this year, the livestock sector was hit significantly hard as processing facilities dealt with large COVID-19 outbreaks that reduced the availability of labor and created backups in the supply chain. To explore the extent of recovery in the US agricultural sector, Schulz and Hart examine USDA’s most recent meat, corn, and soybean projections. The data show mixed results for US agricultural products—the prices and projections for some products are down, while others are up from the last outlook.

The Impact of Flooding on China’s Agricultural Production and Food Security in 2020

Xi He (xihe@iastate.edu), Dermot Hayes (dhayes@iastate.edu), and Wendong Zhang (wdzhang@iastate.edu)
In June and July of 2020, severe flooding decimated crops in several of China’s southern provinces. By August, China’s State Council Information Office estimated that heavy rainfalls had affected 27 provinces, 63,000,000 people, and led to a direct loss of $26 billion. He, Hayes, and Zhang examine the impact of the flooding and find that it affected 23% of the planted area of summer crops, caused 4.3% crop failure, and increased meat and vegetable prices, but not grain prices. They also find that China increased its grain imports this year, which could partially counteract its grain production loss from the flooding and help dampen the impact on national food security.