Homeland Security guidance deems agriculture critical infrastructure in response to COVID-19

Published 12:59 pm Sunday, March 22, 2020

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Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler applauds the guidance Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued in reiterating Food and Agriculture as being critical infrastructure industries to national security, according to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

“Food is one of the most essential elements to survival and Homeland Security understands that. Keeping our nation’s food production and distribution systems operational even as we deal with this pandemic is critical to ensuring our food supply and our national security,” Troxler said. “I will continue to work with Gov. Cooper, state and national leaders to ensure agriculture and agribusiness continues to do its part to keep food safe, animals protected and businesses open.”

During the COVID-19 response, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines critical infrastructure industries to include healthcare services, pharmaceutical and food supply. “Workers in these industries are vital to maintaining this segment of the food and health industry – while following CDC and public health guidance to stay away if they are sick,” stated the release.

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The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reports they are continuing to work diligently to ensure a safe and stable food supply. “We are providing all of the services we can to ensure the continuation of food production, the food supply, veterinary services and commerce at this time. Our Food Distribution Division is delivering USDA foods to schools and food banks across the state and have ordered additional resources to meet the growing need for assistance,” stated the release. “Additionally, our four state-run farmers markets are open and still serving as valuable resources for fresh produce and meats.”

“We are fortunate in North Carolina to have a strong agricultural industry, which means consumers have access to fresh local foods,” Troxler said. “We encourage local governments and decision makers to consider the central role all these industries and businesses play in our state and local economies in their decision making.”

Link to the Homeland Security information: https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CISA-Guidance-on-Essential-Critical-Infrastructure-Workers-1-20-508c.pdf.



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