America’s supply chain under threat from virus

Global US SM Farm

A shortage of labour, supply chain issues and possible price manipulation are the main concerns of farmers in the United States following restrictions imposed by the Department of Agriculture to slow the spread of coronavirus.

In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the American Farm Bureau Federation said it fully supported the measures taken.

Union president Zippy Duvall said: “America’s farmers and ranchers will be with you every step of the way, doing all that we can to help you win this fight and to ensure the health, safety and prosperity of all America.”

The US State Department has suspended all processing of new, non-emergency visa applications in Mexico, leading to concerns that American farms and ranches could face a serious labour shortage at a critical time for planting and harvesting crops.

US agriculture depends on more than a quarter of a million migrant workers every year.

Mr Duvall said: “As companies adopt social distancing policies in keeping with health directives, this mode of work could have a significant impact on the processing plants that drive America’s supply chain.”

Meat packing plants, dairy processors, ethanol plants and other processing facilities could all be affected.

Farmers also needed access to seed, fertiliser and crop protection tools to grow a healthy crop, he warned.

American growers have expressed concerns of the possible “dumping” of products from other countries, he said.

“USDA should work with the appropriate Federal agencies in ensuring US farmers are not unfairly disadvantaged during this unique period,” Mr Duvall wrote.


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