COVID-19 has significantly affected the entire world and every sector of industry. Businesses have been forced to close, people are working from home, and daily life functions are limited. Fortunately, the agriculture industry is still in business. Farmers are still farming, and ranchers are still ranching. Many people think because of the store shortages that there are shortages in agriculture production. This is not the case; agriculture production is still happening every day. Agriculture has been deemed a critical/essential industry by both the federal and state government to help ensure the nation’s food supply remains viable. However, there are still questions and concerns about the ability to operate farms and ranches as seamlessly as possible. Below is information and resources to help ensure farm and ranch businesses are able to successfully operate in light of current conditions.
Farming and ranching, along with the ancillary businesses that keep them functioning, are critical to ensuring the nation’s food supply. Below are links to federal and state documents providing guidance and/or directive on the industries and sectors classified as critical and/or essential.
- Department of Homeland Security - Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): CISA released its guidance for Critical Essential Infrastructure Workforce and identified agriculture and its workforce as critical. The guidance states that: “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 document can be viewed at this link.
This list is advisory in nature and is not a federal directive or standard. This list is also intended to be continuously reviewed and amended as the COVID-19 situation changes. Should you have any questions or would like to provide input, DHS officials urge industry to send information and questions to Cisa.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Arizona Executive Order Detailing Essential Services – On March 23, 2020 Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order to help clarify businesses and operations deemed as “essential” by the state. Section 3(c) includes food production as “Essential Infrastructure Operations” and recognizing a broad definition so as to avoid any impacts to essential infrastructure.”
The executive order can be viewed at this link.
Farm Worker Safety
As a critical industry, it is important that employers communicate to their employees what can be done in the workplace to protect their employees and themselves. Below are resources for addressing the coronavirus in the workplace.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) –
- Farm Employer Labor Service Guidance – link
- Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development
U.S. – Mexico Border Closure
U.S. and Mexican officials have mutually determined that non-essential travel between the United States and Mexico poses additional risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19 and places the populace of both nations at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. U.S. and Mexican officials have mutually determined that border crossings will be limited to only “essential personnel.” This includes:
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work);
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico);
Click here for DHS’s guidance.
This information is also available at https://www.azfb.org/Public-Policy/Resources-and-Links/COVID19-Resources. The online resources will be updated as necessary.