State ag directors continue to share insight with each other during pandemic


State ag directors continue to share insight with each other during pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic spurred seven Midwestern agriculture directors to share insights about issues impacting their states.

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda says the state ag directors have participated in monthly meetings to discuss…”how we as a state are addressing COVID-19 relief plans, how we can be creative about CARES act dollars, what issues we’re seeing with COVID-19 and how it’s related to the food supply chain. Those relationships have become increasingly important as we navigate this new world.”

She tells Brownfield it is critical to hear what issues are impacting her counterparts in surrounding states.

“One of the issues that really popped up was the world of migrant workers and so immediately we started having lots of conversations about how we could be proactive with producers about protecting their migrant workers and providing to our producers what they needed,” she says.  

Pelanda says the states have some different issues, but the conversations are invaluable in terms of hearing what other states are doing to address problems.

Illinois Director of Agriculture Jerry Costello also discussed the importance of these relationships.

“(The neighboring state ag directors) get together and talk about issues and problems and how we can help move things forward,” he says.

He says a silver lining of 2020 is the collaboration that it has led to…”I think it’s pushed a lot of people into positions of working together and getting to know each other better.”