CALIFORNIA AGRI INDUSTRY LOSSES: $2.B
The California agricultural industry has lost $2 billion between April and May alone, according to Rossen Reports.
Citing a study commissioned by the California Farm Bureau, the Rossen Reports said that the agricultural industry lost orders from closed restaurants which buy about half of the products produced by California's farmers and ranchers.
The dairy industry has been the hardest hit, according to the report, with losses of up to $2.3 billion. Restaurants are big users of butter and other milk-based products. With the closures and now reduced business, the impacts have been deep on dairies.
California wine grape growers are bracing for losses estimated at up to $1.7 billion, again in large part because of restaurant closures.
Flower growers and nurseries are also seeing deep impacts, in part because two major holidays, Easter and Mother's Day, fell in the middle of the shutdown, leading to reduced distribution and sales.
The report focuses on the production side of the industry but points out that if losses to processors are factored in, it nearly doubles the overall economic impact.
The California Employment Development Department shows unemployment in the agricultural industry at around 13% statewide. In some rural communities where agriculture is the main employer, that number is as high as 80%, according to Jamie Johansson with the California Farm Bureau.