What You Need to Know (as of March 30)
Click here for a printable PDF of the “News for Members” email sent March 30.
Food supply: Keep it moving
Agriculture and food production is a critical and essential industry as deemed by the federal and state government. That means those providing animal care, including veterinary services, and those in food manufacturing, such as packing plants, should continue their work to provide food to the country. Read more.
If you are hauling pigs or feed to a state that has either partial or full shelter-in-place orders, you or your employees should carry a letter—developed by the National Pork Producers Council—in your cabs indicating that you are an Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker. Download a Microsoft Word or PDF version of the form.
The three letters below are all the same, but formatted in a way to best serve you. They must be signed by the employee and the farm owner.
USDA’s FSIS, APHIS and AMS are using their authority to make sure that grading and inspection personnel are available at meat packing plants. Field personnel are working closely with packing companies and state and local health authorities to handle situations as they arise.
Update manure management plan as needed
If your stocking density at a permitted site increases, update your manure management plan (MMP) to reflect that. If this leads to a situation where manure must be emptied at an unscheduled time, contact your regional DNR office to find solutions and stay in compliance.
Remember, manure application should never cause water pollution.
Prepare for possible disruptions in pig flow
Many discussions this week have addressed supply chains. Producers should be planning how they will manage their pig flows in the event of disruptions at packing plants. (You might be able to draw ideas from your FAD business continuity plan.)
Some trucking rules on Hours of Service and weight limits have been temporarily suspended for commercial motor carriers. These exemptions help ensure the delivery of livestock to packing plants and farms, as well as the delivery of feed.
Guidance for worker issues
IPPA is part of a livestock group having weekly calls with IDALS Secretary Mike Naig. The calls focus on sharing guidance to the department regarding worker issues, supply issues and other related items.
Regarding the employees of your pork business: the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been recommending that all Iowa businesses cross-train, prioritize critical functions, and think about where they would pull additional staff, if needed. It is most important for the agriculture industry to have flexible leave policies in place and make sure workers understand they need to stay home when they are ill.
What we understand from IDPH concerning sick employees at livestock operations: If someone worked while ill, then tested positive for COVID-19, IDPH will issue voluntary home confinement orders for all employees with whom the sick person had direct face-to-face contact (for more than two minutes within 6 feet of each other). If such a situation occurs and the animal facility is no longer able to provide care for the operation, IDPH should be contacted. An exception may be granted to allow asymptomatic, exposed individuals to work while wearing a mask.
Easy pork recipes shared with consumers; extra PPE donated
IPPA is using social media like Facebook to drive pork recipes and cooking information/videos to those who may not regularly cook at home. We are also supplying videos and recipes to Fareway and Hy-Vee.
With the closure of restaurants in many states, National Pork Board is using influencers and its YouTube channel to show consumers simple recipes for preparing pork at home.
In addition, if you can spare any personal protective equipment, especially N-95 face masks, consider donating to frontline health care workers. See details.
IPPA staff splits time between office and home
However, we are always available to you through email or by calling the office at 800-372-7675.
The Pork Checkoff continues to share current information with producers and partnering with industry leaders.
March 24, 2020 – Impact on International and Domestic Markets
March 17, 2020 – COVID-19
Provides good background about COVID-19 and related issues to pig production. Dr. Heather Fowler, director of producer and public health for the Pork Checkoff, explained what we know and current control measures. The National Pork Producers Council also had staff on the line to share how they are working on related issues.
Related websites to learn more:
National Pork Board efforts
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
State of Iowa comprehensive COVID-19 information
Iowa Department of Public Health
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s COVID-19 site
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s COVID-19 webpage