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New York Farm Bureau asks governor to further address farmworker needs during COVID-19 pandemic

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Fri, Apr 24th 2020 02:45 pm

Farmworker safety is important year-round, but the needs are paramount at this time as farms work to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. New York Farm Bureau has written a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking for additional state assistance to address the needs of the agricultural community. This would include inter-agency coordination related to testing, medical treatment and emergency housing for farmworkers, who are essential to agricultural production.

A press release explained farms are taking this health crisis seriously. New York Farm Bureau and its partners throughout the state have initiated widespread outreach to promote the health and safety of our farm families and their valued employees, but there are still needs to be met. Guest workers often live together in farm provided housings, which can provide barriers to effective quarantining should an employee test positive for the coronavirus. Clear guidelines and protocols would be helpful along with increased attention to rural health care needs.

In the letter to the governor, NYFB President David Fisher wrote, “We urge you to increase testing and treatment for COVID-19 in rural parts of New York with an emphasis on farms and processing facilities, for workers that may have been exposed to COVID-19 regardless if the worker is showing symptoms. We would like to see guidance for protocols and procedures that our farms should be taking in the case a worker tests positive for COVID-19. Including testing, quarantine, housing, meal preparation and transportation protocols that should be implemented.”

New York Farm Bureau said it appreciates the hard work of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and its partner agencies during this pandemic, and the organization looks forward to a continued partnership to protect agriculture’s valuable workforce. NYFB said New York’s farms are meeting our food security needs and this must continue.

To read the letter in full: www.TinyURL.com/COVIDFarmworkerSafety.

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