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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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