Washington, D.C. (April 28, 2020)–“NCFC would like to commend the Trump Administration for invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to keep meat processing facilities across the country open during this crisis. Protecting our country’s food supply is a key national security issue—making sure Americans have access to enough food has been a priority of our government since the founding. The situation faced by meat processors is unprecedented and without action today, there is a very real threat of severe disruptions to the food supply chain. In addition, inaction will have impacts far into the future, as the inability to sell the animals they have raised and fed threatens the financial viability of farmers and ranchers across the U.S.
“The Department of Homeland Security recognized the importance of the food supply chain in declaring its workers as essential employees in their recent guidance on responding to the pandemic. In addition, recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), if followed, will help to protect workers at meat processing plants and reduce the chance of transmission of the virus.
“Having lived through the BSE crisis while at USDA and having had to make some tough calls at that time, I know that today’s decision, while necessary, was not easy. In the days ahead, there will be more hard choices to be made. NCFC and our co-op members remain committed to doing everything within our abilities to protect our food supply and ensure the viability of our farmers and ranchers.”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 2,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.