DEFB News

Agriculture recognized as a critical industry during the COVID-19 outbreak

One of Delaware’s top industries, the agriculture industry, was listed as one of 16 critical industries by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in response to businesses and organizations closing throughout the country due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule,” the guidance states.

Industries listed in this guidance include healthcare and public health; emergency services such as law enforcement, public safety and first responders; food and agriculture; energy; water and wastewater; transportation and logistics; public works; communications and information technology; other community-based government operations and essential functions such as elections personnel, educators and some hotel workers; critical manufacturing; hazardous materials; financial services; chemical; and defense industrial base.

Each of those industries listed as critical have guidelines for which specific workers can continue their duties during this crisis. More information can be found online.

According to AgWeb, DHS recognized these specific food and agriculture roles as critical:

• Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce

• Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically

• Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs

• Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products

• Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations – Carry-out and delivery food employees

• Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging

• Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers

• Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail

• Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees

• Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education

• Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments

• Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids

• Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products

• Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution

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