COVID-19 Restrictions Could Impact Food Supply
Cindy Zimmerman, AgWired
March 18, 2020
Beginning today, the United States will suspend routine immigrant and nonimmigrant processing visa services in Mexico indefinitely, including immigrant workers approved under the H-2A guest worker program who are needed to help farmers and ranchers get food in the grocery stores.
“The decision to halt visa application processing in Mexico will restrict the number of immigrant workers being allowed to enter the country,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall. “Under the new restrictions, American farmers will not have access to all of the skilled immigrant labor needed at a critical time in the planting season. This threatens our ability to put food on Americans’ tables.”
Farm Bureau is urging USDA, the State Department and the White House to find “safe, practical ways to admit farm laborers as emergency workers for visa purposes while still protecting public health.”
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) renewed its call for government help to prevent a severe labor shortage from becoming a crisis, since Mexico is a very important source of labor for U.S. hog farmers and packing plants...