News Article – 04/06/2020 JACKSON, Miss. – Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson provided a letter and additional guidance to members of the agriculture and commerce sectors regarding the operation of essential agribusinesses during the statewide “Shelter in Place,” which was established by Executive Order 1466 and signed by Governor Tate Reeves on April 1, 2020. “As a result of the many questions that the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce has received from those in the agriculture and commerce sectors inquiring as to who is considered ‘essential’ and whether employees’ work travel will be impacted during the ‘Shelter in Place’ that goes into effect tomorrow, I have provided a letter and a guidance document to assist our agribusinesses as they continue their essential work. Agriculture and the industries that support agriculture are necessary for the food supply chain. Without agriculture, Mississippi would not have the food, fiber, fuel, and shelter necessary to maintain public health and safety,” said Commissioner Gipson. Commissioner Gipson continued, “But let me be clear to everyone including those in essential businesses: this virus is dangerous and extremely contagious. If you can stay home, you should. If you can limit your travel, you should. You should take every necessary step to protect yourself, your family and your neighbors. Being designated as essential workforce is not a license to cruise or ignore guidance from the CDC or the Mississippi Department of Health. Be responsible. Take care of business and then ‘shelter in place.’” Agriculture businesses and workers have the authority under the Governor’s orders to remain open, operate and perform work as necessary to provide their essential services, which includes travel. The letter from the Commissioner may be a useful tool for those in these sectors to download to their phones or print and keep in the vehicle while performing essential business functions. The guidance document outlines certain sections of Governor Reeves’ Executive Order 1463 pertaining to agriculture. It provides a listing of “Essential Business of Operation” for agriculture and gives a partial listing of essential businesses that are related to agriculture and Mississippi’s food and supply chair. The Department’s Agriculture and Livestock Theft Bureau will be contacting local law enforcement officers to communicate that agriculture and related industries are essential businesses and should be permitted to operate and travel. This information is also being provided to associations and leaders in the agriculture and commerce community to provide to their members and constituents, along with their own guidance and credentials. The letter and guidance document are found on the Department’s website at mdac.ms.gov/COVID19, along with additional resources related to COVID-19 emergency. ###
(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Department Agriculture (DoAg) has released guidance documents to facilitate the continuation of farmers’ markets and shellfish sales during the COVID-19 crisis. Per Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7H, and 7S and DECD’s guidance on essential services and Safe Stores, food and agriculture, including aquaculture, as well as, farmers’ markets and farm stands are deemed essential. The guidance documents contain practices and protocols to be implemented as necessary in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while providing access to supply of local, fresh food.
“Connecticut’s agricultural producers have been entrepreneurial and innovative for generations. During the COVID-19 crisis they have an ample supply of fresh, local foods available,” said Bryan P. Hurlburt, Agriculture Commissioner. “Issuing these guidance documents allows them to meet the needs of consumers as market access shifts.”
Farmers’ Market Guidance
The Farmers’ Market Guidance has been established in order to assist market managers and farmers in providing a safe environment to sell farm products for sustained food accessibility while limiting potential exposure of COVID-19 to market managers, volunteers, vendors, food, and consumers. The recommendations provided in the guidance represent best practices under the current COVID-19 conditions. The guidance will be updated throughout the market season and as the WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program season approaches. The full farmers’ market guidance can be found here: https://portal.ct.gov/doag-covid
Long Island Sound shellfish harvesters are adapting to changing market access as COVID-19 has limited movement to restaurants as they are restricted to takeout orders only at this time. Direct-to-consumer access is not new, however, given the shifting market, it is imperative to pursue this model in order to sustain the industry.
Licensed Shellstock Shippers I operations may sell directly to the public from either their land-based facility or at a designated pickup location, provided they are selling from an approved vehicle that has been inspected and licensed by DoAg for temperature-controlled storage of shellfish. They may also deliver shellfish direct to the consumer from a DoAg licensed vehicle. This direct-to-consumer model, developed in cooperation with UConn SeaGrant, allows shellfish harvesters the ability to sustain their industry and protect consumers from exposure to COVID-19 during this public health crisis. In response to the current COVID-19 crisis, DoAg is providing this updated guidance document to clarify the existing licensing requirements for direct sales and to add additional COVID-19 specific guidance to protect the public as well as the producers.
CT Grown Map
Farmers’ markets and licensed Shellstock Shippers I operations are encouraged to submit their information to be listed on www.CTGrownMap.com, an interactive online map of agriculture and aquaculture entities open for business. This is a joint effort with CT Northeast Organic Farming Association to promote the availability of all Connecticut farmers who can provide food and other farm products at this time. Market managers or producers should complete the online form to be included on the map.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state’s citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state’s economy. For more information, visit www.CTGrown.gov.