SAINT PAUL, Minn.—This week, AgriGrowth and several agri-food stakeholders sent a letter to Governor Tim Walz, highlighting the essential nature of the industry and asking him to prioritize the agricultural, food, beverage and related retail industry in early phases of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, following the critical Phase 1 priority populations that include health care workers, first responders and vulnerable citizens.
The letter states that it is imperative the industry continues to “operate as part of critical infrastructure to ensure a safe and readily available food supply.” The letter also notes that while critical employee safety procedures have been put in place across food processing, “many of our members continue to struggle to secure adequate access to medical facilities given the rural nature of our agricultural production and processing infrastructure,” as well as the impact a single infected employee can have across a company and the overall food supply chain.
“Our health care workers, elderly, first responders and vulnerable citizens absolutely come first with this vaccine rollout. As Minnesota plans for phased implementation and prioritization of the COVID-19 vaccine, we also want to stress to Governor Walz the importance of a strong food supply chain, and our front-line workers helping put food on the table for Minnesota families,” said Tamara Nelsen, Executive Director of AgriGrowth. “Our industry has been critical through out this pandemic, and a key player in problem solving, innovating and keeping our economy moving through these difficult times, and we hope the Walz Administration keeps agri-food top-of-mind as they plan for our state’s vaccine rollout.”
In addition to AgriGrowth, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Compeer Financial, the Minnesota Beverage Association, Minnesota Chicken and Egg, Midwest Food Products Association, Inc., and Syngenta also signed the letter.
You can read the full letter here.
The Minnesota AgriGrowth Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization representing the agriculture and food industry. Formed in 1968, AgriGrowth’s strategic approach to public policy advocacy, issue management and collaboration seeks to foster long-term sustainability, competitiveness and business growth. AgriGrowth serves as a convener and trusted information source, bringing together its members to address critical challenges and provide solution-oriented outcomes.