Agriculture Deemed Critical Infrastructure

March 27, 2020

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued guidance confirming food and agriculture as a critical infrastructure industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This designation ensures that agricultural operations and those that support them can continue operating as normal under orders that restrict movement of people. While it should not be necessary, it may be helpful to provide a document employees can use to explain why they are driving to work. KLA recommends only using this if the area in which the operation is located is placed under a stay-at-home order. Both the employee document and the critical infrastructure guidance can be found here under "frequently asked questions and resources".        

Additionally, the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) clarified this week that livestock auction markets are considered essential and can remain operational during a local stay-at-home or similar order. According to Gov. Laura Kelly's Executive Order No. 20-15, "Local issuing authorities must grant - and do not have the discretion to deny - exemptions from restrictions of any local 'stay home' or similar order to requesting companies or other organizations for the performance of essential functions." These functions include maintaining essential supply chains for critical infrastructure and producing and providing agricultural products and services. Livestock auction markets meet these criteria. However, KDA is encouraging markets to host virtual sales when possible. If that is not an option, sale attendees should be limited to buyers only and social distancing protocol should be followed. Additional KDA recommendations can be found using the above-mentioned link.