The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) included food and agriculture workers in its initial list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, which is intended to ensure “continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”

Among the critical food and agriculture functions identified by CISA are farm workers and food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees.

Cory Lunde

Yesterday, WG and a coalition of more than 40 organizations representing the spectrum of U.S. agriculture issued a letter to President Trump seeking his assistance in ensuring a continued steady supply of U.S.-produced food, fiber, feed and fuel amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The letter notes the challenges American agriculture faced in 2019 – including severe weather and global trade issues – and suggests that heading into the 2020 spring planting season, the industry confronts additional uncertainties in light of government efforts to curb the spread of the outbreak.

Cory Lunde

As reported earlier this week, the U.S. Department of State suspended regular visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico in response to COVID-19. While the Administration did announce they will be prioritizing interview waiver cases for returning H-2A workers, the number of eligible workers under this protocol will still be vastly insufficient to meet the pending demand.

Cory Lunde

WG leaders have been in frequent communication with California officials to provide on-the-ground feedback and help shape the state’s emergency policy responses to the Coronavirus pandemic. CDFA Secretary Karen Ross is leading the Administration’s policy development for agriculture and food production issues during the crisis. At the moment, state health and labor agencies are reviewing worker health, hygiene and sanitation standards to determine whether any additional precautions are needed.

Cory Lunde

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