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As the situation evolves related to COVID-19, we'll bring you up-to-date information along with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Governor Tom Wolf, and all of Pennsylvania's state agencies. In the meantime, please continue to:
🙌 wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water
🤭 avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand
🏠 stay home whenever possible
For the most timely and reliable information, visit the Department of Health's page.
For ag information related to COVID-19, visit ours: agriculture.pa.gov/COVID
For agriculture business, please call (717) 787-4737
Stay calm. Stay home. Stay safe.
Essential Businesses for a Safe Food Supply
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the PA Department of Agriculture recognizes the critical role production agriculture, agribusinesses, food processors and manufacturers, retailers, and the entire distribution and support network from farm to table play in assuring a safe, reliable food supply.
We encourage food production and distribution facilities to continue operations but the decision for essential businesses to stay open or voluntarily close during the COVID-19 mitigation phase is a business-by-business decision. All essential businesses that choose to remain open should review and adjust standard operating procedures to minimize risk, take measures to protect their employees, send home sick employees, and minimize or eliminate congregate settings or groups of more than 10 people whenever possible.
Farm and On-Farm Deliveries
As always, it is critical to practice biosecurity for the safety of animals and the public. It is now critical to also consider ways to limit person-to-person contact and congregate in settings of no more than 10 people while maintaining social distance.
It is recommended that all farms have Continuity of Business (COB) plans, to keep operations running smoothly in case of any disruption. PDA recommends all farms review and update or write a continuity of business plan in case of disruption due to COVID-19. COB plans are critical for all operations, however small farms may be at greater risk if a disruption occurs because the owner may be the sole caretaker.
Farmers Markets and On-Farm Markets
Farmers markets and on-farm markets are encouraged to stay open to increase food supply options for Pennsylvanians. Those that do remain open should follow the COVID-19 guidance for farm and distribution preparedness, in addition to the following recommendations for farmers markets.
1. Prepare market and individual stands
2. Prepare workforce
3. Sanitize contact surfaces.
If you are considering opening an on-farm stand, for raw produce, shelf stable packaged foods like jams and jellies or baked goods, or a farm’s own eggs, you do not need a food safety license for an on-farm stand. Please visit the PDA website for more information about retail food licenses.
If you are relocating a farmers market temporarily due to COVID-19, the PA Department of Agriculture will not need to issue a new food safety license. If it is a permanent relocation, the application is on our website.
Guidance for accessing emergency food assistance for Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger due to the spread of COVID-19
If you are out of work without pay, you are eligible to receive food sourced from the state and federal government from a food bank or food pantry in Pennsylvania. This includes service workers who are unable to get shifts or hourly-wage employees of non-essential businesses that have voluntarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation.
Food banks are open and delivering food to many agencies including pantries, shelters and soup kitchens. Please call or visit the website of your regional food bank to be directed to agencies in your community.
If you or a family member is under isolation or quarantine, contact your local food bank to see if they have options to deliver food. If you are concerned about potential exposure, there are steps you and food banks can take to limit risk.
Pennsylvania sought and received approval from the federal government to allow the option to distribute meals at no cost while schools are closed. Department of Human Services, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, other state agencies, the American Red Cross, and public and private partners to expand these efforts.
Performance-Tested Bull Sale at Pennsylvania Livestock Evaluation Center to be Held Online Only
The 47th Annual Pennsylvania Performance Tested Bull Sale scheduled for Friday, March 27, 2020 at the Livestock Evaluation Center will be held online only through Cowbuyer.com as a response to COVID-19 cases in the State of PA. Changes have been made by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for the Upcoming Bull Test Sale due to evolving public health protocol and requirements for public gatherings at Pennsylvania State Facilities.
Online viewing and more information for the sale can be found on cowbuyer.com.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s performance testing programs and sales or events, contact Greg Hubbard at 814-238-2527 or email@example.com.
Amid Universities Moving Remote for COVID-19, Pennsylvania’s Animal Laboratory System Remains Open
The PA Veterinary Laboratory and PA Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System remain open during the Covid 19 emergency. Veterinarians continue to monitor developments in conjunction with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), USDA and Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The CDC has received no reports of pets, livestock or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that pets, including dogs, can spread COVID-19. Since other infectious diseases can spread between animals and people, it's always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals or handling animals, their food and supplies.
PA Preffered Distillery using high-proof alcohol to make hand sanitizer
PA Preferred member Eight Oaks Distillery is supporting their community in New Tripoli, PA the best way they know how during COVID-19- by converting their distillery to a hand sanitizer production facility using their high-proof alcohol in response to demand and surging prices.
Eight Oaks Farm Distillery filled its first 20 bottles on Monday, March 16. This batch is destined for charitable groups that need hand sanitizer but haven’t been able to get it due to the coronavirus pandemic. The family-owned distillery plans to dramatically boost production this week and distribute the bottles to charities as well as offer them at farmers’ markets. They are accepting donations for a bottle of hand sanitizer.
Cooking with Your Kids
In the wake of COVID-19, life in Pennsylvania has taken a new shape. As cities and towns temporarily shutter across the Commonwealth, we find ourselves at home pretty much non-stop, and with schools canceled, our kids are home, too. That means, among so many other things, that there are three meals a day, plus snacks, to prepare; it also means that you’ve got a squad of helpers on hand who want to be involved.
This time of social distancing opens up a new opportunity. Without the normal fast pace of life, with all of our crisscrossing schedules, activities and engagements, we have the chance to really be present with our kids in the kitchen, and we can let snack and meal prep just take as long as it takes.
PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center Cancelations
All public events scheduled for March at the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center will be canceled in response to COVID-19. Private meetings will also be prohibited.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | 2301 N. Cameron Street | Harrisburg, PA 17110
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