Tallahassee, Fla. – In response to the Governor issuing a stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried offered the following statement on the essential role of food and agriculture workers who are exempt from this order. This exemption is consistent with the Department of Homeland Security’s identification of essential critical infrastructure workers during COVID-19 response.
“Agriculture is Florida’s second-largest industry, and it’s first-largest in times of economic downturns. Florida’s farmers and ranchers put food on the tables of our neighbors across the state and nation. That’s why agricultural producers and others in the agriculture industry can continue performing essential work during the state’s stay-at-home order. While we continue to work with federal officials and retailers to increase purchases of Florida-grown food products, we also thank state and local officials for working with the agriculture industry to keep our food supply chain strong, at a time when agriculture’s efforts are more important than ever.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is providing a downloadable template for essential critical infrastructure worker proof of employment for travel to and from work and other duties as assigned for those in the food and agriculture industry. While deemed critical infrastructure by federal and state guidance, individual businesses are asked to self-evaluate to ensure only essential operations continue and to implement best practices to protect employees, customers, and our communities. The Department is also providing a downloadable document with COVID-19 safety guidance for food supply chain workers.