Saint Paul, MINN. – On Friday, Governor Tim Walz announced a new Committee on the Safety, Health, and Wellbeing of Agricultural and Food Processing Workers. Tamara Nelsen, the Executive Director of AgriGrowth, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization representing the agriculture and food industry, was appointed to the committee.
“The agriculture and food industries are a significant economic driver in this state. We feed our nation and the world, but we could not do it without thousands of dedicated workers, many of whom have worked on the frontlines throughout this pandemic. AgriGrowth members are committed to the health, well-being and safety of their employees, and have worked hard in the past year to adjust, adapt and innovate to protect its frontline workers,” said Nelsen. “I look forward to collaborating with our elected officials and industry leaders to ensure Minnesota’s agri-food industry continues to lead.”
The Committee’s objectives include:
· Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by coordinating resources and outreach for the 2021 growing, harvesting, and processing season.
· Designing a proactive strategy to deploy public, private, and non-profit compliance resources to protect and promote the safety, health, and wellbeing of agricultural and food processing workers, focusing on housing, transportation, and workplaces.
· Developing a system for effective communication between state agencies, community organizations, advocacy groups, and agricultural and food processing employers and workers, including the workers’ families and communities.
· Supporting and assisting the Minnesota Department of Health, local public health departments, and community organizations with the coordination of the COVID-19 response, including testing, vaccination, access to health care, and necessary assistance for the quarantine and isolation of workers and their families if they test positive or become ill.
· Providing government agencies, community organizations, advocacy groups, employer and worker organizations, employers, and workers a forum to engage, analyze data and information, coordinate resources, and plan for future agricultural growing, food production, and processing seasons.