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Summer 2020 Economic Outlook: Rural Industries Adapt to Coronavirus Reality

Jul 26 2020

Over the past four months, every rural industry has grappled with how to adjust its business to remain relevant and sustainable in the face of the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Agricultural supply chains have experienced massive disruption and revenue loss. We’ve significantly changed what and where we eat, and it becomes increasingly unlikely with each passing month that these new habits will completely fall away when the virus becomes dormant.
  • Water and power suppliers have adapted to shifts in demand as commercial and industrial customers went dark and demand shifted to residential customers. As electricity demand dropped, coal power generating assets were the first to go offline, and setbacks on pipeline plans reveal a less certain future for natural gas.
  • The communications industry is seizing a moment when home broadband access has become vividly essential, to help expand access to everyone, everywhere.

We know that more challenges lie ahead before we are free of the pandemic. And as devastating as the coronavirus pandemic has been to all communities, economic recovery may now favor rural communities for the first time in many years.

Learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted agriculture and other rural industries in the latest Quarterly Economic report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange.