There are many heroes on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic – health care workers, first responders, postal employees and law enforcement. An often unrecognized group is once again rising to the demand of the times: America’s farmers and ranchers.
During this unprecedented national shutdown, Americans are sheltering in place for extended periods of time with many only venturing out to stock up on essentials, like paper goods, toiletries and, of course, food. Between March 11 and March 18, grocery sales surged by 79 percent compared to the same time last year. That’s a lot of product flying off shelves.
Grocery store employees are to be commended for keeping stores shelved, despite the risk to their own health.
Likewise, the nation’s farmers are to be applauded for ensuring that fresh, nutritious food remains abundant, available and affordable. At American Humane, we have seen firsthand how farmers are stepping up to the plate for families across the nation.
While the share of Americans employed in direct on-farm jobs over the decades has shrunk, there are still so many hardworking people who keep our food supply abundant. More than 1.18 million workers are employed in agriculture, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Those individuals aren’t spending time at home, they’re still working on farms and ranches.
Producers are implementing new policies and protocols to keep their workers safe and healthy while keeping families fed. American Humane works with producers who take food safety and animal welfare seriously, complying with over 200 science-based standards developed by our Scientific Advisory Committee.
We are seeing farmers adapt their operating procedures adeptly and safely in real-time. Their previous commitment to quality enables them to adapt to hurdles presented by the novel coronavirus.