April Knowledge Exchange Report

Jun 12, 2020 | Uncategorized

Keeping Us Connected,
Our Lights On, and Our Pantries Full

Coronavirus Testing Labor and Supply Chains of Essential Rural Industries

Executive Summary

The beginning of a new quarter finds us in unparalleled times – a pandemic ravaging the world, the U.S. economy in shutdown, millions of Americans out of work, and financial markets in turmoil. No one could have predicted this just a month or two ago, and yet here we are, collectively attempting to chart a new path forward. CoBank’s mission is to serve vital rural industries, and those industries have never been more essential than they are right now.

The suddenness of the crisis is forcing the power, agriculture/food, water, and communications industries to adapt quickly to maintain continuity in their operations. Agricultural processors are transitioning from supplying restaurants to keeping grocery shelves stocked. The power sector is grappling with declines in demand and wild volatility in fuel prices. Demand for water has also shifted from commercial use to residential, altering needs for many water authorities. And broadband providers are keeping up with a massive shift in internet usage. All are preparing for the risk of staffing shortages.

This quarter will largely define the next year as it relates to the economy and how severe the coronavirus damage will be. But on the other side of this quarter is recovery, and more secure times for everyone.


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