Supply Chain Issues Could Make Holidays More Challenging

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Ongoing supply chain challenges that have plagued the U.S. economy can be traced back to stay-at-home orders put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Roger Cryan, Chief Economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, says consumers clogged supply lanes with purchases of goods rather than services.

“They ended up buying a lot of stuff from across the Pacific Ocean, and that stuff clogged up the ships and the containers and the ports, all that overloaded supply chains. Infrastructure is getting in the way of things getting to the U.S. like machine parts and computer chips for tractor manufacturers and fertilizers for farmers. It’s also causing some problems for farmers exporting as well.”

Cryan says these issues will likely impact the holidays. “It’s going to make it hard for a lot of folks who wanted to get stuff from across the ocean for Christmas, for holiday gifts, and so forth. It’s raising prices for some other things. We did a Thanksgiving survey that showed the price of the turkey is up, but I think the biggest issues are across the economy.”

He says consumers can help ease some supply chain issues by shopping closer to home.

“If you want to help unclog the supply chain, you could buy less stuff that has to come across the ocean and through our West Coast ports and think about alternatives, think about shifts in your holiday buying. We can buy a lot of different things for the holidays. Maybe buy fruit baskets from the farm stand, or a cheese box or some local wine from your farmers market. Gift certificates for the restaurant Main Street. That’s good for a lot of things. We want you to get that new TV you want but maybe later. We believe trade is a good thing, and American farmers depend on trade, but this year, you can try looking for the things close by that can bring you joy this holiday season.”