Protecting the food supply chain during the winter months of COVID-19 is the top priority for those working in the industry, and numerous Midwestern agricultural heads have joined together to ask people to continue doing what they say is necessary to ensure disruptions are avoided.
The message, which comes from Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen and six other Midwestern agriculture department leaders, stresses the importance of wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding large holiday gatherings to prevent the spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The full message:
In a year of unforeseen challenges, we have discovered the power of unity. Coming together to overcome, seven of us with one goal to protect our food and agriculture industry. To do that, we must all do our part. Where a mask, it's such a simple step but one that has a tremendous impact. It protects others and is key in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Keep your distance. Six feet apart keeps you and those around you safe, which is what we all need to do right now. Celebrate small. This is a time to come together but right now it's safer to stay apart. Keep it small, don't gather in larger groups, stay home around those you live with as much as possible.
This is all so important to keep our food supply chain moving. The food and agriculture industry has shown remarkable resilience during the pandemic, meeting the challenges and ensuring food is in our stores and on our tables.
Agriculture and food service workers are essential right now. We commend their hard work through this trying time and say thank you. And we thank you for doing your part. Working together, we can make it through.
In the early months of the pandemic the food supply chain was disrupted when food processing plants were hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks, resulting in many Midwestern plants temporarily shutting down, leading to the waste of thousands of livestock, including pigs and chickens in Minnesota.
Last spring, the food supply chain was disrupted when processing plants were hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks, resulting in many Midwestern facilities temporarily shutting down. It led to rising costs, limited meat products at grocery stores and the euthanasia of hundreds of thousands of animals.
In late April, more than 6,500 employees of meat plants were sickened by the coronavirus, resulting in plant shutdowns all over the country, including numerous in Minnesota, namely JBS Pork in Worthington and Jennie-O in Willmar.
A spokesperson from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed to Bring Me The News that no major disruptions have happened since the spring.
"There haven’t been any major disruptions," the spokesperson said, noting that "supply is good so no need for panic buying."