TX Relaxes Restrictions but Producers Still Face Challenges


Texas relaxed many of its COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of this month, but the past few months have impacted producers.

Produce farmers in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas are, in theory, supposed to be going business as usual. However, times are just too unusual to be able to operate normally.

Dante Galeazzi, the President of the Texas International Produce Association, states, “We are still feeling the challenge of not having the food service sector open. The restaurants, your schools, hospitals, some of the wholesalers in some of the major cities, they’re still not operational.”

Even those transporting the produce have found it cannot be what is used to be since this COVID-19 shutdown began.

Galeazzi notes, “Here in the U.S., we had a problem early on where truck drivers weren’t getting the access they needed to restrooms or facilities they needed for printing, because those facilities had closed down their operation to visitors. That was something no one foresaw, it created some hiccups. The industry responded but it took time.”

There are also new concerns about shipping this produce just a few miles south into Mexico. What Mexico deems to be essential businesses has been very different, but business across the border is still strong. According to Galeazzi, “For the produce industry, we have not seen the interruption. They did declare that agriculture was essential, similar to the U.S.”

For now the main concern, specifically for produce farmers, is the processes of reopening restaurants. Farmers really need access to that market. Galeazzi did note that consumers are changing their patterns and going toward frozen products.