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AgToday April 3, 2020

Farmworkers 'harvesting America's food supply' amid coronavirus pandemic fight for safety [NBC Latino] California has ordered all residents to stay home because of the threat of COVID-19, but thousands of farmworkers like Mariana are still showing up at work — despite worries that their employers are not doing enough to protect or support them. … While Mariana's employer told her and her colleagues to "keep distance between each other" in the fields and wash their hands, she said she would feel safer going to work if her bosses would openly address how the virus affects her daily tasks and what specific precautions...

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Ag Today April 2, 2020

Why health experts aren’t warning about coronavirus in food [Associated Press] Chicken with salmonella can make you sick. So can romaine lettuce with E. coli and buffets with lurking norovirus. So why aren’t health officials warning people about eating food contaminated with the new coronavirus? The answer has to do with the varying paths organisms take to make people sick. … When it comes to food and COVID-19, experts say the biggest risk is contact in grocery stores with other customers and employees, rather than anything you eat. … It may be harder for viruses to survive on food itself. https://apnews.com/2a70719849f6643e4f721dca11148b96   Farmworkers, mostly...

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Ag Today April 1, 2020

California’s agriculture industry faces ‘uncertainty’ amid coronavirus pandemic [KTXL TV, Sacramento] During this unprecedented time, those in the agriculture industry who are already dealing with little rainfall this season are now going up against the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Fischer, the director of the Placer County Farm Bureau, said those he oversees on Placer County farms are taking every precaution. “We have some little buggy-type cars they drive around, little Kubota RTVs, they don’t ride in that in tandem anymore. One takes that, one takes the quad. Afterwards, we have a strict cleaning regimen that everybody cleans their own equipment and then...

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Ag Today March 31, 2020

COVID-19 and food: California should have enough, some farms struggle while others thrive, farmworker fears [Capital Public Radio, Sacramento] … COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in some growers' plans, especially those that rely on restaurants, schools and businesses that are closed. Farmworkers are worried about getting sick and some growers are concerned about how to harvest crops with social-distancing in mind. … Many big farms are thriving despite the new rules, but that’s not the case for some  smaller operations. “For our smaller farmers who depend on those direct sales, this is an uneasy time,” said Jamie Johansson, executive director of...

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Ag Today March 30, 2020

Farmworkers across California wary of coronavirus spread [Associated Press] … Agriculture groups and union leaders are urging employers to take extra precautions to prevent the outbreak from spreading among California's farmworkers, who are already in short supply. Workers getting sidelined by illness could jeopardize crop yields and disrupt the food supply. … To address conditions at the thousands of farms that the California Farm Bureau Federation represents, its president, Jamie Johansson, said he has told farms to have workers go out in smaller groups “when possible.” His organization also says hand-washing on farms is routine for food safety reasons. https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10859687-181/story.html?sba=AAS   'No campaign to...

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Ag Today March 27, 2020

State Department eases coronavirus bottleneck for foreign farmworkers [Los Angeles Times] The U.S. State Department moved Thursday to ease a bottleneck caused by coronavirus precautions and allow more foreign agricultural guest workers to cross from Mexico to work fields in California and other states. The emergency measures helped allay fears of a labor shortage just as the harvest of major produce crops gets underway in California … Most foreign applicants no longer will need an in-person interview to obtain the H-2A agricultural guest worker permits, under the new rules announced Thursday. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-03-27/state-department-eases-requirements-for-h2a-visa   Workers critical to world’s food supply are starting to fall ill...

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Ag Today March 26, 2020

California farmworkers face new perils from mask shortage as growers try to roll out other protections [Salinas Californian] … Face masks have flown off the shelves around the United States amid the coronavirus outbreak, even though experts have advised people against wearing them unless they are sick. That has triggered a shortage for farmworkers like Virgen and Aviles, who work for a farm labor contractor in the Salinas Valley … The two workers said their employer ran out of masks weeks ago for everyone except those applying pesticides, and even those are scarce, according to growers and farm labor contractors. https://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2020/03/26/california-farmworkers-need-face-masks-but-cant-find-them-amid-covid-19-fear-coronavirus/4957564002/   The effects of...

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Ag Today March 25, 2020

California’s agriculture industry faces ‘uncertainty’ amid coronavirus pandemic [KTXL TV, Sacramento] During this unprecedented time, those in the agriculture industry who are already dealing with little rainfall this season are now going up against the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Fischer, the director of the Placer County Farm Bureau, said those he oversees on Placer County farms are taking every precaution. “We have some little buggy-type cars they drive around, little Kubota RTVs, they don’t ride in that in tandem anymore. One takes that, one takes the quad. Afterwards, we have a strict cleaning regimen that everybody cleans their own equipment and then...

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Ag Today March 24, 2020

Coronavirus: Work continues for county's 36,000 farmworkers, who are considered essential [Ventura County Star] … In the fields, farmworkers now practice social distancing, staying six feet apart while harvesting strawberries, broccoli and other produce. But at home, social distancing is more difficult. Urbano's family of four lives in one room of a four-bedroom home shared with three other families, in overcrowded housing conditions that many farmworkers experience. … Farming is considered an essential industry, and farm companies are quickly adopting precautions to keep workers safe. https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/2020/03/24/coronavirus-ventura-county-farmworkers-practice-social-distancing/2880345001/   Bolthouse Farms sees demand for carrots double as grocers try to restock shelves [CNBC] As grocers try to keep shelves...

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Ag Today March 23, 2020

COVID-19 exposure: Monterey County issues recommendations for farmworkers [Monterey Herald] Monterey County officials and agricultural leaders released advisory recommendations for farmworkers and other employees in an effort to better protect them from coronavirus exposure, which comes as the industry continues to experience chronic labor shortages. … The county’s new advisory adds voluntary enhanced worker health and safety measures, officials said in a press release. … The recommendations outline employee hygiene, ill employees, routine cleanings, as well as training, changes to process, and limiting non-essential visits and travel, the advisory says. https://www.montereyherald.com/2020/03/21/covid-19-exposure-monterey-county-issues-recommendations-for-farmworkers/   Opinion: Immigrant farmworkers feed us despite the coronavirus pandemic. They deserve better...

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