The American Farm Bureau Federation and other farm groups are calling on the White House to provide additional COVID-19 protection for farm workers. Micheal Clements tells us why the additional support is needed.
Clements: A recent letter from farm and food groups call on the White House Coronavirus Task Force to take additional steps and devote new resources to help farmers protect their employees from coronavirus. Allison Crittenden, American Farm Bureau Federation Congressional Relations Director, says more than 160 farm groups signed the letter.
Crittenden: In this letter, all these ag organizations request that the task force provide some assistance as farmers do their best to provide a safe working environment for farmworkers. We know that COVID-19 has brought many challenges, so in this letter we detail a few requests that the White House Coronavirus Task Force can assist farmers with so that they can do their best to protect their workforce.
Clements: The letter seeks funding from the Commodity Credit Corporation to assist farmers in protecting workers, along with additional measures.
Crittenden: These requests include amending housing regulations to allow for RVs or FEMA trailers to be used to facilitate social distancing or isolation housing, but also request that farm workers and the ag supply chain be designated for PPE prioritization as well as an eventual vaccine. The letter also asks that testing resources be made available to the ag industry and that results be available timely.
Clements: Crittenden says additional resources are vital to protect the food supply chain.
Crittenden: Without those vital employees, we can’t get the crop in the ground, we certainly can’t pick it and we can’t get it to grocery stores. So, it’s important that we keep farm workers and farmers alike safe and healthy during this time and it’s important we have the resources that we need to do so.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Read the full letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force.