Oklahoma Secretary of Ag Blayne Arthur Talks COVID-19 ResponseThu, 19 Mar 2020 08:57:01 CDT
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Oklahoma State Secretary of Ag Blayne Arthur about the efforts by the agency to interact with producers, grocery store reps, suppliers and other government agencies to respond to the COVID-19 situation as it impacts farmers, ranchers and those in rural Oklahoma.
Arthur says that for consumers, her staff have pushed to completion a new project that can connect consumers with producers of food. It's called Loklahoma. Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are more than capable of providing for your needs, especially in hard times like these.
Loklahoma is a way for you as the consumer to connect to producers in your area. Click or tap here for the link that will be updated regularly with producers from across the state and what they have available for consumers to buy.
This document will be updated daily. Follow Loklahoma on social media for more updates!
You can listen to their conversation that covers the waterfront when it comes to how the Department is trying to help producers navigate these never seen before times. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the conversation.
Just below- here is the ODAFF update on actions being taken by Secretary Arthur and her team:
ODAFF COVID-19 Update
March 18, 2020
· ODAFF Response
- We are working diligently to maintain services to Oklahomans and simultaneously protect our staff and limit the risk of potential spread. Staff are highly encouraged to telework if possible. Contingency plans and extra precautionary measures have been implemented to protect those whose roles cannot be performed remotely.
- Our lab is continuing testing
- Field staff and inspectors are still working
- We do not plan to shut down essential services
- Our building has been cleaned and sanitized to mitigate potential spread
- The situation and staff needs are being reassessed daily to best protect our staff and maintain service as much as possible.
· Supporting Industry
- Secretary Arthur, our State Veterinarian, and other ODAFF staff remain in constant communication with industry representatives. Yesterday, we hosted a call for Oklahoma’s ag commodity groups to provide an update, identify needs, and answer questions and will continue to hold regular calls as needed. Secretary Arthur has also been in touch with representatives of the grocery industry to discuss concerns and solutions.
- Continuity of business for all ag industry sectors and the food supply chain is of utmost importance. Governor Stitt’s Executive Order 2020-07 addresses the most immediate concerns, such as keeping food deliveries to grocery stores and livestock and poultry feed to farms maintained.
· Supply Chain Impact
- Concerns with processors
- Communicating with processing plants to try to address concerns and protect against potential shutdowns
- There are a few markets in the state not having sales this week due to a combination of weather and market conditions. These markets do have info on mitigating risk of COVID-19 and are implementing various measures to do so.
- This information and guidelines will be sent to you via a separate document.
- Concerns of grocers
- AWG has requested flexibilities to keep up with high demand (truck weight limit waiver, noise ordinance flexibility in municipalities, flexibility for curfews for stockers)
- Farmers Markets
- The OKC Public Farmers Market will be open this Saturday, March 21st.
· The first hour will be reserved for senior shoppers.
· Customers may pre-order by contacting vendors directly and curbside delivery will be an option so no inside-contact is necessary.
· For those that do not preorder, they will be practicing only 10 shoppers allowed inside at a time.
· Vendors will be spread at a minimum of three part away from one another. Another document has been attached for additional guidelines
· Ag in the Classroom Resources
- If you are needing some educational activities that highlight the importance of agriculture to share with your kiddos during this time, visit the Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom website for lesson plans and activity ideas!
· Ag Hauler Waiver
- Governor’s Executive Order today waives Hours of Service requirements for haulers, including “livestock, poultry, feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultural products ready to be harvested” and overweight permit fees for carriers of equipment and supplies for relief and recovery
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