Farm Bureau President says farmers and ranchers remain committed to stable food supply


U.S. agriculture is working to maintain a stable food supply amid concerns over COVID-19, the American Farm Bureau Federation said in a news release Tuesday.

“Farmers and ranchers remain committed to doing the work in the fields, orchards and barns across the country to ensure Americans have access to healthy, affordable food. Particularly now, during these challenging times, an assured food supply allows families to focus on the safety and well-being of their loved ones,” Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said. “We commend the good work being done to protect families and our population and appreciate all the workers focused on ensuring food gets from our farms to grocery stores, and of course we are grateful for the health care workers ensuring we can treat those who are ill and contain the pandemic..........We will remain watchful and vigilant to ensure U.S. agriculture and others in the food supply chain are able to continue feeding America, as we do 365 days a year. We are in close communication with our state Farm Bureaus, Congress and the administration as we all work together to protect our food supply and our communities in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.”

In the same release, Duvall expressed concern about the United States suspending immigrant and nonimmigrant processing visa services in Mexico. In 2019, more than 250,000 immigrant workers were approved to work in the U.S. thanks to the H-2A guest worker program.

“The decision to halt visa application processing in Mexico will restrict the number of immigrant workers being allowed to enter the country. Under the new restrictions, American farmers will not have access to all of the skilled immigrant labor needed at a critical time in the planting season. This threatens our ability to put food on Americans’ tables,” Duvall said. “We fully support the administration’s efforts to protect the public during this health crisis. We are in constant contact with USDA, the State Department and the White House. We have urged them to find safe, practical ways to admit farm laborers as emergency workers for visa purposes while still protecting public health. Failing to do so will impact our ability to provide a healthy, affordable domestic food supply.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has publicly pledged to work with the State Department on this issue.