Despite the pandemic, the disruption to supply chains, struggles with trade as well as everything else 2020 threw at the American farmer, the past year was a fairy good one for Idaho farmers. Sean Ellis with the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation said while the situation looked dire for potatoes and milk early on, both commodities bounced back nicely, and reported average, and in some cases above average years. He also noted during the first nine months of 2020, the total value of Idaho agricultural exports was up 4% over a very robust 2019.

“So we’re up 4% from last year, which was the second highest year ever for farm exports so that’s a very good sign also.  There was some trouble getting exports into China during the trade war there for a while, but apparently Idaho farmers and agricultural companies are finding markets.”

Ellis noted that CFAP payments, which nationally will account for roughly 40% of the average farmers net income last year, provided a shot in the arm for Idaho farmers. He was quick to point out that Idaho farmers don’t use nearly as much federal assistance as many Midwest operations.

Ellis added 2020 was also a year in which the American consumer showed its respect for the farmer. In August, Gallup conducted a survey that said farming was the most respected profession in the country. Ellis said he believes that response was spurred by fact that there were empty grocery store shelves in March and April thanks to supply chain disruptions.

“Probably a lot of people were worried about a food supply shortage and that didn’t happen, and it’s back to normal, and I think probably Americans saw that and got a new appreciation or at least a renewed appreciation for farmers and their food supply.”

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