While the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has altered daily patterns of many U.S. citizens, American farmers continue to harvest and plant crops and tend livestock and poultry — all essential to the nation’s food supply.
“Food is essential all year-round, but in the face of a pandemic, it is critical the shelves remain stocked and supplies remain plentiful,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “President Trump is encouraging a ‘whole of America’ approach to the challenges we currently face.”
Perdue said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also is working to protect the health of its employees, as well as stakeholders in the food delivery systems.
The Alabama Farmers Federation is monitoring effects of the virus on its members and agriculture production, said President Jimmy Parnell.
“Farmers in Alabama and across the U.S. continue working to grow the food and fiber we all need,” Parnell said. “Their resilience in the face of challenges should encourage all Americans. We are blessed with abundant and affordable food, thanks to their determination, innovation and hard work.”
Alabama farmers are beginning to see impacts due to the closure of businesses, as well as disrupted commodity markets. Specifically, farmers who supply fresh food to restaurants are seeking alternative markets.
The U.S. government has suspended visa processing in Mexico to combat spreading the virus. The suspension began March 18. Other concerns are possible interruptions of USDA inspections required for much of the food sold in America.