In this file:


·         Perdue says food system alive and well

·         Grocery store shelves may be difficult to restock, UNK supply chain management professor says

·         Secretary Perdue Salutes the Heroes in the US Food Supply Chain



Perdue says food system alive and well


By Julie Harker, Brownfield  

March 19, 2020


Ag Secretary Perdue says the food system is alive and well in the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Speaking on a Florida radio station Wednesday, Perdue said USDA meat inspectors are on the job, food is being produced, processed and transported even with all the restrictions, and, with fewer workers in some cases, “These are the real heroes out here in the public and private sector who are getting their jobs done in spite of the potential of the coronavirus. The people who are stocking up grocery shelves, delivering the food, they’re the real heroes.”


Perdue says fewer grocery store items doesn’t mean there’s not enough food...





Grocery store shelves may be difficult to restock, UNK supply chain management professor says


By Mike Konz, Kearney Hub (NE)

Mar 19, 2020


KEARNEY — Greg Benson ran an errand for his wife last weekend. Marci asked him to buy pork and beans, but when he arrived at Walmart, there wasn’t a can of beans to be had.


And the vinegar was sold out.


Across Second Avenue at Hy-Vee, the situation was similar. In fact, at most all grocery stores, products disappeared and shelves went bare as customers stockpiled food and supplies as if they were preparing for the worst blizzard of their lives.


Hand sanitizer, produce, bread and other products were gone — and as the stores have discovered, they’re difficult to restock...


... Chad Henning understands supply chain management. His family’s Kearney-based company, Cash-Wa Distributing, supplies food and many related products to restaurants, nursing homes and schools across the Midwest.


He said consumers established a pattern during the past several years, but what was normal then isn’t today. Because of coronavirus, people mostly are dining at home. Schools and their cafeterias are closed.


Food distributors like Cash-Wa and its vendors, along with grocers, could not have anticipated the drastic changes COVID-19 would cause, Henning said.


“The supply chain is invisible and under the radar to people,” he said. “They just show up at the store or the restaurant and think the food will be there. If anything, this pandemic shows the world how valuable the supply chain is.”


Supplying people’s food necessities is more than a business among distribution companies like Cash-Wa, Henning said. He said it’s more like a mission and commitment. “We’re networking with other distributors, and even competitors, about how to handle this. The situation is changing hour by hour, that’s for sure. There’s nothing but speculation about how long it’s going to last.”


Tony Seevers, the manager at Boogaarts Food Store, 1615 Second Ave., said the multiple companies that bring food to Kearney’s stores is like a metal chain that’s only as strong as its weakest link.


“We are all interdependent on each other. I’m only as strong as my warehouse, and the warehouse is only as strong as the manufacturers.”


Seevers said it’s been challenging keeping his shelves stocked. “With the quantity that people are buying things, we’re out of things.”


Seevers heard that Gov. Pete Ricketts is encouraging Nebraskans not to overbuy, but instead bring home just a week’s worth of groceries.


In his 38 years in the grocery business, Seevers said he’s not experienced anything like the coronavirus. “This is my first pandemic.”


Benson, the supply chain instructor who couldn’t find pork and beans, said COVID-19 has exposed flaws in the global supply chain. If just one link in the chain breaks, it can bring down the rest, especially because so many industries are so careful not to overproduce their products...





Secretary Perdue Salutes the Heroes in the US Food Supply Chain


Source: USDA Office of Communications

Fri 3/20/2020



Good morning, I’m Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture for the United States Department of Agriculture. And this morning I just really want to speak from my heart to all you folks out there that are working at the front lines of our food supply chain. You know, we’re spoiled in America. You’ve provided such abundant, healthy, wholesome, affordable, available food that we take you for granted. And for all you people from the people who are stocking those shelves, from the people who are driving the trucks to get this food to us, the people who are processing the food and the people who grow the food and all the vendors that supplied our farmers to help them grow this food whether it’s fertilizer or feed or seed or any other input. Thank you so much for what you’re doing. And I know these are uncertain times, but I just want to tell you from my heart, as an American citizen, I am so grateful for what you’re doing. And I want to thank you for doing that. I know there’s been a lot of confusion about teleworking and all that kind of stuff. You all have jobs that can’t telework, and we know that. We’ve got our Food Safety Inspection workers on the front line, day in and day out to make sure our food is safe, just like we always have. But you’re the real heroes in this effort. In World War II we actually had agricultural deferments because the food supply chain was so important. And that’s essentially what you all are doing. From the person that makes the equipment, that supplies the farmers, to the seed, the fertilizer, the farmers that go day in and day out to produce this food and all through the processing, and the packaging, and the logistics, and the stocking of the shelves, to greeting and checking out people – you are vital to our economy and you are vital to our needs of America having a strong food supply. You’ve probably heard me say before, our motto at USDA is, “Do Right and Feed Everyone.” We can’t do that alone at USDA, but you are doing it. And I want to just thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you are doing day in and day out. Stay at the job. You know that America depends on you if we are going to have the food we need to feed our families, you are the ones that can make that happen. Thank you. God Bless you. Stay safe. And God bless America.




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