One question producers and other food industry employers have been concerned about since the onset of COVID-19, relates to ease of travel for farm employees and managers within the agricultural sector. Specifically these individuals are concerned about areas that have been entirely shut down, or where authorities may be monitoring travel. This UF/IFAS Blog will provide a few details that may help producers and other critical personnel maintain mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic relevant to locations across the state.
What is the Critical Industry Workforce?
As a result of the emergence and impact of COVID-19, The Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an advisory list on March 16th with key industries assigned as critical and necessary during a time of disaster. The named “Critical Infrastucture Industry Workforce” list includes federal, state and local governments as well as key industries within the the private sector. This list is intended to help state, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.
The advisory list includes various aspects of the agriculture industry as well as workers who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure maintenance (among many other critical industries). State and local governments are responsible for implementing response activities, including decisions about access and reentry to various locations in their communities, while the Federal Government will have a supporting role. Officials in charge of overseeing and regulating travel will be able to use their own judgment in issuing directives and guidance. Similarly, businesses traveling should use their own best judgement in deciding how to proceed under travel bans between locations. A “Safer at Home” order was issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on April 1, 2020. In turn, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has provided resources for agricultural producers to use (see below) to help alleviate travel restrictions for farmers.
Resources for Agri-Businesses
One document that employers and companies have utilized in disaster relief situations includes a “Critical Infrastructure Industry Memorandum” that the driver may keep in possession and present to transportation authorities for compliance and to provide a clear understanding of their purpose for traveling and hauling. This may be a helpful tool to have on-hand to enable freedom to proceed, but the ultimate decision for unrestricted travel is up to the interpretation of authorities who might intervene. The next section below provides several examples to choose from that may be modfied to best fit your farming operation or agribusiness.
Click the links below for samples letters and resources to use when experiencing a travel restriction.
Generic essential employee exemption sample letter provided by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS):
Essential Worker Movement Letter
Sample letter provided by Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association (FFAA):
Sample Florida Agchem Employee Exemption Letter
Sample letter provided by a local food industry corporation:
Additional information on the topic can be found at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security homepage, or by accessing the link below.
Attachment: “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response Version 2.0”
Sources: Various information and details were obtained from The Department of Homeland Security webpage: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce. Additional details were provided Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), and Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association (FFAA). Sample transport memorandums were provided by local food industries as references for what is in current circulation.
UF/IFAS is an Equal Opportunity Institution
May 27, 2021
You would have to contact your county property appraiser office to learn what the additional property tax would be. Every county (and municipality) has a different millage rate. Hoop houses could be treated as an improvement on the property, increasing the assessed value and amount of property tax you owe.
May 25, 2021
How are hoop Houses taxed by the property appraisers office? If it cost $1,395,000 to build the hoop house on the farm how much would the real estate taxes be. the land value with agriculture exemption is 55,000 Total acreage is 150 The extra features value is 1.395,000.
April 16, 2020
Thank you very much for pointing out the Edible Northeast Florida map. I have added that to the blog.
April 16, 2020
Hello! Could you please edit the above infromation to include “Edible of Northeast and South Florida”. I was informed by the editor of Edible Northeast thy they are also providing the same service as South Florida Edible. Your prompt editing in this announcement would be much appreciated
April 3, 2020
WAS WONDERING as without our impact upon the urban setting could become devastating within days to weeks. Glad this industry is recognized as important, maybe we can be respected better. As having same amount of schooling as most Doctors, then being treated as 'lowly' has disappointed me over the years, as we have less respect. Always dreamed recognition would be nice & this form helps as we are important
November 26, 2019
Hi Kathy, Click on our website and you should find the information you are looking for as well as upcoming training opportunities in the greenhouses. https://svaec.ifas.ufl.edu/ Also, the contact information for our greenhouse manager is on this site if you need more assistance!
November 15, 2019
email@example.com worked with peanuts.bkueberries.oeaches,plums,vetch,tobacco etc for IFAS prior to six years ago.I was an OPS. ....have a few questions.i have never tried hydroponics.Will there be a separate print out or paper I can get and read carefully pertaining to local lettuce? that does not have to do with hydro technical methods?( Organic please?).i have been growing soybeans and yet to get good accurate info.locally when I visit my wonderful local IFAS office here.
May 23, 2019
Thanks Al! I’m so glad you could join us!
May 23, 2019
June 19, 2018
A 2018 update: STATE ITEM June 17, 2018 PREV. WEEK June 17, 2017 5-YEAR AVG. FLORIDA Peanuts Pegging 8% 0% 12% 11% Soil Moisture 0% Very Short 7% Short 73% Adequate 20% Surplus Conditions 0% VP, 1% Poor 20% Fair 68% Good 11% Excellent Early planted peanuts look excellent, but late planted were only fair because of prolonged wet conditions.
October 18, 2017
Checking to see if you are doing the Fall Harvest Experience inn Live Oak. My 3rd grade class loves to go each year!
October 10, 2017
Good timing We need to address both!
September 10, 2017
The warm spring increased GDDs. What are other varieties doing in your area?
September 10, 2017
Most 06G peanuts are running 8-10 days ahead of last year
September 10, 2017
Dry weather is expected to follow Monday's rain.
September 6, 2017
What was the stover material? Did you roll that down and herbicide it?
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