Safety measures hope to protect Michigan's AG supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order is now in place, and there are now exemptions that include protecting the state’s agriculture supply chain. From farm to plate, safety measures are being put in place as spring planting gets underway.
“So, it’s a really important time to be out there for farmers and also all the businesses that surround the farms,” Chuck Lippstreu, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association said. “Everybody from ag retailers, those are the small businesses out there on the countryside selling seed and fertilizer, things like that to make sure the farmer is able to get the job done, to supply chain to food processing.”
To the grocery store.
“One of the biggest concerns we have as we look ahead, both in the immediate and then in the coming weeks and months is the availability of labor," Lippstreu said.
West Michigan’s fruit and vegetable output is second only to California’s crop production.
“Labor’s been tough even without the coronavirus situation," said Lippstreu. "So, certainly there are questions out there about both the availability to bring workers into the state and to have them on the farm at a critical time. In light of this situation, there are questions around the H2A Visa Waver Program right now and the availability of workers.”
For those who are in the fields or anyone who’s working in the supply chain, Lippsreu says the industry is implementing best practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.