The Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association is one of more than 20 organizations asked that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers exempt farming, agriculture and agribusiness from his “shelter in place” order, which was made March 24. These exemptions were made part of the order.
On behalf of each of the undersigned Wisconsin agricultural organizations, we write to respectfully request that any forthcoming “shelter-in-place” order for the State of Wisconsin exempt Wisconsin production agriculture, food processing, food manufacturing, farm-supply retail, farm workers, agribusiness and veterinary medicine as described below. The continued production, processing and distribution of food has been designated as an essential critical infrastructure industry sector by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the Department of Homeland Security. We strive to maintain a consistent and healthy food supply during this public-health emergency.
Accordingly we ask that any “shelter in place” order issued for the State of Wisconsin include the following critical agricultural exemptions.
- Farmers, farm employees and all farm-support service employees including those who field crops
- Food manufacturers and food processors, including food-manufacturing employees and their supplier employees, those employed in food-processing facilities such as packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc., and the production of food packaging
- Livestock, poultry, seafood and all animal-production operations and employees, livestock genetics, all slaughter and packing plants, and all associated regulatory and government workforce
- Pet- and animal-feed processing facilities
- Farm-supply retailers, farm-channel retail and others critical to managing the supply of agricultural inputs
- Commodity and food-safety inspections
- Fuel ethanol facilities
- Storage facilities for food, farm products and all related agribusiness inputs
- Employees and firms supporting food, feed and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor managed-inventory controllers and block-chain managers
- Employees of companies engaged in the production and distribution of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, livestock-genetics supplies, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments and other agricultural-production aids
- Animal-agriculture workers including those employed in veterinary health
- Manufacturing and distribution of animal-medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, livestock-genetics supplies, feed ingredients, feed and bedding, etc.
- Transportation of all farm commodities, farm inputs, live animals, animal-medical materials and deceased animals for disposal
- Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution
- Childcare providers and their employees providing childcare to people employed in any of the abovementioned exemptions
This exemption for agriculture shall be broadly construed to include all other activities, supplies and services required to maintain agricultural supply-chain operations without disruption. We respectfully request that any Wisconsin COVID-19 shelter-in-place order allow the continued necessary work of our Wisconsin farmers, agribusinesses, food processors, food distributors and veterinary-medicine professionals as we all work to address the COVID-19 public-health emergency.