COVID-19: What You Need To Know

ILLINOIS PORK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP:

Below are three letters that were sent from NPPC on behalf of pig farmers across the United States. Please read through them and contact your congressmen and women on the importance of these issues.

 

Contact Your Congressman Now

 

 

 

 

UPDATE AS OF 3.20.2020 - Food & Agriculture Workers are considered "essential" according to Governor Pritzker. This follows the announcement made by the Department of Homeland Security and the Governor's "stay at home" executive order.

*See the official order here. Section 12B pertains to agriculture.

 

What does a "Stay at Home" order mean? All non-essential businesses must stop operating at their physical locations. If you can work from home, please do so. Those who are non-essential, please stay at home to limit the spread of the virus. This begins at 5:00 pm on Saturday, March 21 and ends on April 7th (as of now).

 

The Governor recognized agriculture as a "fundamental building block" that will not close. (See bottom of this segment for specifics)

 

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE PORK INDUSTRY IN ILLINOIS?

Q: What does this mean for my farm?

 

A: Business continuity - you are allowed to continue business as usual.

 

Q: What about my employees?

 

 

 

A: Ask them to be honest of their health status. If they are experiencing symptoms similar to COVID-19, ask them to stay home and follow necessary precautions in order to protect the health of your farm.

 

Q: Are the major packers still open?

 

 

 

A: Yes - IPPA has been in constant communication with the major packers in our state. They are also implementing extra measures to ensure health and safety of their employees.

 

Q: What if I can’t proceed as normal?

 

 

A: Please contact Jennifer Tirey at 217-971-3842 or Jennifer@ilpork.com to relay any issues you are facing. IPPA is working hard on your behalf to keep the pork industry running at full-speed.

 

Q: What about trucking?

 

 

 

 

A: Trucking related to agriculture is still allowed. Additionally, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued nationwide waivers for Hours of Service Rules. On Wednesday, DOT expanded the scope of the nationwide waiver to cover livestock haulers. The expanded waiver will remain in force until April 12 and may be extended if conditions warrant.

 

 

Excerpt from the federal memorandum, declaring Food and Agriculture as essential:

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

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the following statement:

"We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest the Coronavirus (Covid-19) can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods."

 

Below are credible resources to follow for information regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources for Employers:

Agriculture and COVID-19 resources:

Resources for Illinois Veterinarians and Animal Control: