Food Supply Chain

Food Supply Chain

Maura Bennett
Maura Bennett

The key to solving immediate food supply chain issues is recruiting and retaining commercial truck drivers.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott said that was the big takeaway from a recent hearing on the supply chain challenges.

Jon Schwalls, Executive Officer of Southern Valley Fruit, and Vegetable spoke on behalf of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. Schwalls says growers in the southeast are concerned about crop failures due to a shortage of crop protection chemicals.

Schwalls: “ Many of these chemicals that we are looking for, fungicides, bactericides are getting harder and harder to find. And it’s a longer and longer period of time even if you can find them. So you have the issue of the crop protection products being a lot more expensive, not being readily available and now it’s getting to a point where they’re not available at all.

Schwalls says that delays in finding crop protection will have long-lasting effects and not just on farmers.

Schwalls: “ It is an incredible strain and it’s going to continue to get worse it appears. The strain on being able to obtain these products to be able to produce these crops. The less protection we have, the less yield we’re going to have and crop failures. That is going to tax the American farm but also the American food supply chain.”

The Food Service Distributors Association indicated there are currently about 15,000 vacancies for truck drivers and 17,500 vacancies for warehouse workers.

Chairman Scott says while immediate actions must be taken to fill those jobs, currently, our food supply is abundant and there is no cause for panic.

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