Farmers say they need help protecting Ameria's food supply
EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - It's peak harvest season in the desert southwest, and farmers are working in close quarters to provide food for the nation. However, they say they need Vice President Mike Pence's help feeding America.
Local growers say they are practicing social distancing, performing proper sanitation, and wearing masks, but they lack personal protective equipment (PPE) because of limited funding.
Farmers in California recently teamed upon to send Pence and the White House Coronavirus Task Force a three-part letter. The Agriculture Workforce Coalition organized the letter endorsed by 167 organizations, including the California Farm Bureau.
Jamie Johansson, President of the California Farm Bureau says the letter stresses the important role masks play in protecting the nation’s food security.
“In the letter, on of the requests certainly is for PPE equipment, particularly masks. You know, we've had 1.5 million masks recently distributed to the counties. Of course in California right now, this is the peak of harvest for us in terms of employment in the fields. Around 450,000 employees working our fields and our seasonal crops right now,” Johansson said. “So, 1.5 million masks, if you use a new mask every day, goes rather quickly.”
The funding would help offset money local farmers have already spent on PPE.
The second part of the letter addressed the need for more coronavirus testing and faster results.
Farmers are also asking for quarantine RVs that can be placed out in the fields. That would save farmers from spending their own money on a hotel room.
We'll take a closer look at the issue Monday beginning at four on 13 On Your Side.