Farm Bureau on Supply Chain
The American Farm Bureau Federation has a list for Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack as the USDA works to solve supply chain problems caused by the pandemic.
The list includes efforts to modernize the packing and processing sectors of meat production and flexibilities for agricultural haulers and the overall trucking industry.
Earlier this year, agriculture producers testified before the House Committee on Agriculture about the supply chain challenges they face.
Perri Cooper, executive director of the Georgia Organic Peanut Association says the organic grower in the southeast faces the challenge of scale.
Cooper: “ It’s been very hard for us to incentivize folks to get certified when we can’t certify the supply chain. There is not a scale-appropriate supply chain and for folks that are scale-appropriate, there’s no incentive or support for them to go through the certification process. You can not grow organic acreage without growing the organic processing that follows or else you just lose that premium and then there’s no incentive.”
COVID-19 unveiled weaknesses in agriculture supply chains across the country. Consumers turned to small and local ag producers to fill the gaps but small producers say they were unaware of programs designed to assist them. Others testified that they are limited by the lack of broadband internet service. A new e-commerce based ag businesses rely on consistent broadband.
Also high on the Farm Bureau’s list of possible solutions is that USDA and Congress address workforce concerns, including program costs, year-round access to the H-2A program and to resolve trade concerns with China.