By Kirsten Romaguera, U/F/IFAS public relations specialist
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With agriculture and marine industries occupying a large portion of Florida’s economy, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) wants to better understand how measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are impacting these sectors.
Starting today, faculty from the UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics (FRE) department are deploying surveys to UF/IFAS Extension agents and industry professionals to capture this important information.
“We strongly encourage all businesses in the agriculture and marine sectors to complete the survey,” said Christa Court, director of the Economic Impact Analysis Program, who is leading the effort along with fellow FRE assistant professors John Lai and Andrew Ropicki. “Broad participation from operations throughout the state involved in agricultural production, processing and transportation, as well as marine industries, will result in the most accurate picture of how this crisis is affecting these parts of the state economy.”
The Assessment of COVID-19 Impacts on Florida surveys are designed to encompass agricultural production, processing and transportation as well as several marine sectors. The five surveys cover:
- Agriculture and aquaculture production, processing and transportation (includes crop production, forestry/timber, nursery and greenhouse operations, agritourism, beekeeping, etc.)
- Commercial fishing
- Charter/For-hire operations
- Seafood wholesale dealers
- Marine recreation support businesses
UF/IFAS faculty are familiar with the challenge of conducting such broad surveys. Similar surveys are typically deployed after weather-related events like hurricanes or winter freezes. In those cases, UF/IFAS Extension agents collect data to report back the situation in their respective areas.
To capture the wide range of unique and far-reaching impacts caused by COVID-19, faculty have updated the survey instruments, further harmonizing that data collection process.
The Assessment of COVID-19 Impacts on Florida surveys include background information about the business (operations, revenues, employment, and market channels); current status (open or closed, business changes if open, or reasons for closure if closed); impacts (change in revenues, employment, customer base, products/services offered); willingness to participate in potential follow up or similar surveys related to COVID-19 or other disasters.
The first round of surveys is scheduled to close May 15, although Court said there will likely be follow-up surveys conducted as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop.
The surveys can be accessed at these links:
- Agriculture/Aquaculture Production, Processing, Transportation (com/uflsurvey-agaquaculture)
- Commercial Fishing (com/uflsurvey-commercialfishing)
- For-hire/Charter (com/uflsurvey-charter)
- Seafood Wholesale Dealer (com/uflsurvey-seafood)
- Marine Recreation Support (com/uflsurvey-recreation)
Previous analyses for similar event impacts can be found at the Economic Impact Analysis Program website: fred.ifas.ufl.edu/economicimpactanalysis/.