Wisconsin watching meat supply chain labor during COVID-19 outbreak


Wisconsin watching meat supply chain labor during COVID-19 outbreak

The coronavirus has Wisconsin’s Ag Department keeping a close watch on labor, especially in the meat animal supply chain.

Assistant Deputy Ag Secretary Angela James told the state ag board Friday, “We have a lot of animals in the state, and there’s a lot of concern if they start to pile up if transportation and processing breaks down.”

James says the department has formed workgroups with regular conference calls in four areas:  Supply and delivery, the dairy industry, livestock, and animal welfare, and meat animal growing and processing.  James says the meat animal group is very concerned about a possible labor crisis. “A lot of the focus of that group has been to make sure that they are a part of the critical infrastructure definition and to start the conversation about workforce availability if we have sick people to make sure that animals keep moving.”

So far, James says all the groups have already met twice except for the dairy group, which has met three times.  A new group focusing on ag lending has been formed and has its first conference call Tuesday.

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