Tag Archives: COVID-19

Agriculture work sites, shared worker housing, and shared worker transportation vehicles present unique challenges for preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19. Consistent application of specific preparation, prevention, and management measures can help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The Agri-Safe Network has put together a webinar to help identify best practices in Covid-19 testing and contact training that will help agricultural producers identify strategies for responding on their farm. The CDC Covid-19 prevention guidance for agriculture will also be shared to assist employers in adopting recommendations to protect workers.

Objectives: At the end of the presentation, participants will be able to gain an understanding of:
– current CDC/OSHA guidelines for COVID-19 prevention in the agriculture industry
– airborne transmission characteristics of SARS-Cov-2
– the principles of testing for infectious diseases
– the difference between the various tests currently available for SARS-COV-2
– COVID19 contact tracing protocols

Register for the AgriSafe Webinar here… https://learning.agrisafe.org/products/lessons-learned-in-covid-19-prevention-efforts-among-agriculture-workers-and-employers.

 

 

The National Milk Producers Federation urges all dairy farmers to sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage Program. Enrollment in the program administered by the Department of Agriculture opened Tuesday.

NMPF cites the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and the expectation of volatile dairy margins in the next year, in the need for DMC protection. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “Coronavirus-related volatility in dairy markets is expected to continue well into 2021, with DMC payments a possibility.” DMC, the main risk-protection tool for dairy farmers enacted in the 2018 farm bill, is designed to promote stable revenues and protect against financial catastrophe on some or all of a farmer’s milk.

Despite forecasts in late 2019 predicting that DMC assistance would not be needed by farmers in 2020, margins instead fell to their lowest levels in more than a decade in the first half of this year, triggering payments that kept many dairies afloat. NMPF says DMC coverage offers certainty in times of need, allowing for better financial planning and faster payment when necessary.

Pandemic-related disruptions have exposed underlying weaknesses in the food and farm system, according to the National Farmers Union. NFU President Rob Larew told the House Small Business Committee Wednesday during a hearing the need for significant structural reforms to protect farmers and consumers from similar disruptions in the future.

One of the primary contributors to supply chain delays and food shortages has been widespread corporation consolidation, particularly in the meat processing industry, Larew told the lawmakers. As a solution, Larew proposed policies that would stem the tide of consolidation and build out regional food infrastructure. NFU says another major problem is chronic oversupply. In recent months, restaurant closures and shifting demand has made matters worse, as Larew noted in his testimony.

Though pandemic aid has helped farmers withstand persistently low prices, “policy changes are needed to address the causes – rather than simply the symptoms – of a broken farm economy.” NFU proposes a supply management system that would balance farm production with consumer demand.

On Friday, the administration announced details of the new $14-billion-dollar Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP2, that will provide direct payments to farmers and ranchers to partially offset COVID-19-related losses for producers. American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist John Newton says the aid extends to new commodity categories…

A Market Intel analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation details the CFAP2 provisions, which provides nearly $14 billion in relief to farmers and ranchers suffering losses or increased cost after April 15, stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the $14 billion in CFAP2 support, USDA’s cost-benefit analysis estimates corn producers will receive $3.5 billion, or 25 percent of the total CFAP2 resources. Following corn, beef cattle producers are expected to receive $2.8 billion, or 20 percent of CFAP2 funding.

Dairy farmers are expected to receive $2 billion, or 14 percent of the available support. Hog producers are estimated to receive $1.7 billion or 12 percent of CFAP2. Soybean producers are estimated to receive $1.4 billion, or ten percent of the funds. Wheat, flat-rate crops, eggs and other commodities are expected to receive $2.5 billion, or 18 percent.

 

LINCOLN, NE. – The 13th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference scheduled for November 9-10, 2020, has been postponed due to COVID-19 based restrictions and health risks. The Planning Committee feels the face-to-face interaction and networking between participants and conference exhibitors and sponsors is an important component of the annual conference. “The safety of our participants and the need for our participants to freely visit with each other were the primary considerations,” said Conference Chair John Hansen.

The next annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference will be held on November 8-10, 2021, at the Lincoln Cornhusker Marriott.

The Planning Committee is also working to develop virtual outreach opportunities to share information about the issues and progress within the industry. “There are many exciting developments going on in both the wind and solar industries,” Conference Chairman John Hansen said.

The Planning Committee encourages everyone wanting more information on the wide range of issues facing wind and solar energy development to visit the Conference website at www.nebraskawsc.com. The website includes an extensive library of recent presentations from leading state and nationwide industry experts as well as past Conference presentations. Past expert presentations can be found under “Resources” and are organized by year and topic on the website. The Planning Committee urges you to take full advantage of the resources our website has to offer.

Details regarding virtual outreach and the 2021 Conference will be posted on the conference website as they develop. To sign-up for email updates, please visit the Conference website.

The Planning Committee thanks everyone for their past support and looks forward to seeing you next year.

MANHATTAN — A team of Kansas State University researchers is using a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture — and an additional grant from the state of Kansas — to study how to effectively control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the nation’s meat and poultry processing facilities.

The study “Translating SARS-CoV-2 Research Into Practical Solutions For The Meat And Poultry Processing Industry” seeks to protect meat plant workers and their surrounding communities from the spread of COVID-19. It involves researchers from K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture.

As part of the study, $330,000 from the State of Kansas National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Transition Fund will be used for research in K-State’s Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI, at Pat Roberts Hall. The BRI is a high-containment research facility.

A key objective of the project will be verifying the effectiveness of many of the approved cleaners and sanitizers for inactivating SARS-CoV-2 during plant processing and sanitation operations.

“Nationally and internationally, many facilities that produce meat and poultry products have been temporarily closed because of COVID-19 outbreaks,” said A. Sally Davis, an assistant professor of experimental pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and project director of the K-State grant. “This has put a major strain on food production, limiting the amount of meat and poultry on grocery store shelves and disrupting food and feed supply chains across the globe. Research is necessary to understand why SARS-CoV-2 is such a problem in meat and poultry processing environments and how we can mitigate the problem.”

Davis said infections with SARS-CoV-2 are primarily thought to occur by exposure to infectious micro-droplets in the air and contaminated surfaces.

“We are investigating the conditions within meat and poultry processing environments, such as low temperatures, relative humidity, increased air movement and workers being in close proximity to one another, to help identify areas and surfaces that are at high risk for contamination and spread of infectious SARS-CoV-2,” Davis said.

The team will evaluate potential sources of exposure and determine the amount and the longevity of infectious virus that is present during and after meat processing and packaging activities. The team seeks to identify, develop, validate and deliver practical cleaning and disinfection strategies, plus develop mathematical models to predict and reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure in meat and poultry processing facilities.

Joining Davis on the research team are food safety faculty from K-State’s Food Science Institute, including Randall Phebus, co-project director and professor of animal sciences and industry, and Jeanette Thurston, director of the Food Science Institute and co-investigator on the project. The project also will rely on input from an industry advisory board.

“Our advisory board will be regularly updated on research progress,” Thurston said. “We will communicate with them in real time to make sure we are on the right track with our research and recommendations, and ensure that our findings are rapidly deployed across the processing sector.”

The industry advisory board is composed of senior-level directors of food safety and plant operations at Hormel Foods, Smithfield Foods, National Beef Packing Company, Cargill Protein North America, JBS USA, Wayne Farms, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Tyson Fresh Meats and Costco Wholesale.

Collaborating with the K-State team are co-project directors from the University of Georgia poultry science department, Harsha Thippareddi and Manpreet Singh, who will provide extensive poultry experience and industry connections and lead the grant’s industry outreach efforts. Valentina Trinetta and Sara Gragg, food safety faculty from the Food Science Institute, are co-project directors. Co-investigator Anke Richter, a public health-focused operation research specialist at the Naval Postgraduate School, will lead the risk assessment driven by mathematical modeling. Co-investigators Yunjeong Kim and Erin Schirtzinger in the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine and the Food Science Institute’s Daniel Vega round out the project team.

As recently as September 1, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA was finishing up writing the rules for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Late last week at a stop in Iowa, the secretary said the rules have been written and they’ll be announced this week.

The Bismarck Tribune says the first $16 billion in funding during the first round of the program was geared to the first quarter of 2020. The idea was to just get the aid out the door as quickly as possible to whoever needed it. Round two of the program will factor in more producer feedback to make it a program that works best for the people who truly need it. Farm Journal’s Ag Web Dot Com says payments in the second round will compensate producers for any losses they had from April 15 through the end of 2020.

The deadline for applying during the first round of CFAP is this Friday, September 11. He says round two payments will go to the same commodities they did in the first round. There won’t be any money for ethanol producers and other agricultural commodities seeking aid because of COVID-19. Perdue says he doesn’t have the necessary authority from Congress to make those particular payments.