Food supply chain designated as critical infrastructure


The Department of Homeland Security today designated food and agriculture one of 16 critical sectors in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, and said that workers in those industries should stay on the job.

“In accordance with this mandate, and in collaboration with other federal agencies and the private sector, CISA developed an initial list of ‘Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers’ to help state and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security,” the department said in a memo.

The National Council of Farm Cooperatives celebrated the decision on Friday, calling it much needed reassurance.

Below is the group’s full statement:

I would like to applaud the Department of Homeland Security for designating the entire food and agriculture production chain as critical infrastructure as our country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. This action will help ensure that as we face this unprecedented crisis Americans will continue to be able to find nutritious food on store shelves. It provides much needed reassurance to our hardworking farmers as planting season gets underway. I’d also like to thank Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for his leadership and hard work on this issue.

The Trump Administration should especially be commended to recognize the importance of the entire supply chain-from input provides to farmers and ranchers to food processors to retailers. Leaving one link in this chain out of this designation would have made the task facing American agriculture all that much harder.

“America’s co-ops and their farmer-owners stand ready to play their part in this chain. In conversations with our members in the past week, one phrase used frequently is that our country’s farmer co-ops will ‘get it done.’ The coming weeks will require sacrifice, ingenuity, and determination, but I have no doubt that, as we have so many times in our country’s history, farmers and ranchers will rise to the challenge.