While it appears that the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic are behind us, its effect on the supply chain continues.
In addition to rising prices at the gas pump and lumber costs, Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson recently outlined a few additional everyday products that have also seen increases in the recent months.
Corn – $7 per bushel compared to $3 last year
Vegetable oil – up 124%
Cereal – up 36%
Dairy – up 28%
Meat – up 10%
Sugar – up 57%
Explaining what’s behind the rising costs, Gipson said much of it is driven by the “good ol’ classic principle of supply and demand” and that the low participation rate in the workforce has also played a large role.
“When you’ve got people who are not working, people who are staying home, people cannot get workers to—for example, unload freight. That’s a big logistical challenge right now. You can’t get people to work in the shops, you can’t get people to process meat—well that is hurting our supply. At the same time that demand is rising across the country, that is causing prices to go up.”
Gipson noted that the cyberattacks against Colonial Pipeline and the subsequent attack against JBS’s U.S. beef plants have exacerbated the situation. He further explained that Mississippi’s farmers are bearing the brunt as the price increases are occurring throughout the supply chain.
“It’s not a shortage problem we have, except really a worker shortage. If we could get people back to work, we could produce what we need, but in the meanwhile, these prices are going up,” he said.
Once products do get produced, due to a lack of workers in the logistics space, it can take up to eight weeks to get them from the west coast to Mississippi, according to Gipson, who said that “I’m told we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.”
Governor Tate Reeves ended federally expanded unemployment benefits in Mississippi in a move aimed at getting people back to work, but Gipson said it’s still too early to gauge its effect.
Watch Commissioner Gipson’s full appearance on SuperTalk Mississippi below: