On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, a coalition of Ohio agriculture groups, including Ohio Farm Bureau, sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine to highlight the importance of farmers and all of those along the food supply chain amid the state’s COVID-19 response efforts. These organizations are fielding many calls from their members who have questions about how their industry may be impacted. This letter addresses those concerns and asks for consideration and actions for what is an essential part of overcoming the coronavirus crisis.
“Both you and the president have noted that our food supply is an essential service, which is vitally important,” the letter stated. “We must recognize that our critical infrastructure for food also includes those in the supply chain below, and food distribution centers, or there will be no food in those centers to distribute to grocery stores and retail outlets.”
The letter also stressed that the food supply infrastructure includes those taking care of livestock and poultry, those producing and processing feed for those livestock, as well as meat, eggs and dairy processing plants, agricultural supply infrastructure (including seed, crop protectants, fertilizer, etc.), planting and harvesting of crops, fruits and vegetables, and transport between all these critical supply points.
The farm groups implored the governor to designate the agriculture commodity community as an essential service if he decides to deploy a “shelter in place” or “quarantine” order.
“One thing is certain as we all navigate short-term disruptions in the food and agricultural industry, we will remain a resource to help identify solutions, help spread needed messaging, or highlight areas of concern to make sure our farmers in Ohio will continue to help deliver a safe and abundant food supply,” the letter stated.
The letter was sent to Gov. DeWine on behalf of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Association and Ohio Soybean Association.