Agriculture and natural resources business owners economic and communication concerns early in the COVID-19 pandemic
The purpose of this study was to describe agriculture and natural resource (ANR) leader business owners’ initial concerns and feelings about the impacts of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Based on the theories of opinion leadership and bounded rationality, researchers analyzed survey findings to identify and describe ANR business owners’ 1) business and economic concerns associated with COVID-19, 2) communication concerns associated with COVID-19, and 3) any other concerns or impacts experienced due to COVID-19. Findings indicated that the majority of respondents were concerned about their bottom lines, employees missing work, and their abilities to provide employees a safe workplace. Additionally, respondents were concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy. Regarding communication concerns, respondents were concerned about others sharing inaccurate COVID-19 information. When asked about additional concerns related to COVID-19, many respondents noted their concerns about economic impacts, personal and business finances, and canceled events causing them to become unable to interact with customers. Overall, the biggest concerns were related to economic impacts and misinformation. Recommendations for future research are to continue to assess this population as the pandemic continues, and again when the health crisis ends to understand the recovery process for ANR leader business owners.
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