University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers have opened the second round of surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s agriculture and marine industries. The surveys are intended to capture changes in operations for the first half of the year.
The Assessment of COVID-19 Impacts on Florida surveys were first deployed in mid-April and closed in mid-May, offering a glimpse at the changes and uncertainty that came with the early days of the pandemic. In total, more than 1,500 respondents across five sector-specific surveys shed light on how their businesses were faring just as statewide stay-at-home orders were in full effect. Reports on the findings are being finalized now and will soon be made available.
Similar industry groups will be targeted for the second round of surveys. See the survey for agriculture and aquaculture production (broadly defined to include crop production, forestry/timber, nursery and greenhouse operations, agritourism, beekeeping, etc.).
“We were satisfied with the response rate of the first round of surveys, but I know there are experiences and impacts that we weren’t able to capture in the first round, especially when it came to specific commodities or sectors,” said Christa Court, assistant professor of regional economics in the UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics Department. “Together, Florida’s agriculture and marine industries are a significant contributor to the state’s economy, but what makes our state unique is the diversity of activities and products that these industries engage in and produce. The more data we can collect from producers and operations of all types, the more insights we can provide on the variety of ways each of the sectors are being uniquely impacted by and adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important that we find as many pieces of this puzzle as possible to understand implications for the broader food system and the economy.”
Survey questions have been refined to make it as easy as possible for respondents to complete the survey while providing the information necessary for a detailed valuation of losses. Some questions might look familiar from the first round; however, in most cases, adjustments were made to account for the more nuanced impacts of the pandemic scenario.
In addition, based on responses from the first round of surveys, there is an effort to conduct interviews with industry professionals. Previous survey respondents who expressed interest in sharing more about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic have been contacted, and additional participation is welcomed. Industry professionals in agriculture or food-related sectors who are interested in sharing their stories and experiences should email or call (239-533-7512) David Outerbridge, county Extension director in Lee County.
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