In our final installment of the Lessons from the Pandemic series, we shift from the impact on the food system to the impact on the Northeast’s fiber system. The timber industry reacted quickly to the pandemic, promptly curtailing production, but soon found demand for many wood products would actually increase.
Vegetable growers in the Northeast experienced significant draught in 2020, which is continuing through 2021. Growers selling to foodservice markets had to adjust their marketing, but those selling to grocery stores or direct-to-consumer have seen good sales. Like other agricultural commodities, vegetable demand has shifted but is still strong.
Cash field crops had a relatively good year in 2020, with most corn and soybean yields higher than 2019 averages. Ethanol production decreased due to reduced exports and domestic gasoline demand, however production levels should increase this year.