Washington's food supply chain remains open and operational, and deliveries to grocery stores continue steadily, says Derek Sandison, Washington State Department of Agriculture director.
Sandison issued a statement March 18 to farmers and ranchers and the public:
"Agriculture and food production is an essential industry that feeds our communities and serves a vital role in the state’s economy," Sandison stated. "I want to extend my personal thanks to our farmers and ranchers and to all the hard-working people in the agriculture and food industry whose jobs cannot be performed remotely and who continue to show up every day to keep our critical food infrastructure rock solid.
"As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, I want to assure the industry and the public that we are committed to keeping Washington’s food supply chain open and operational," Sandison stated. "State and federal government is actively working with producers, processors and distributors to ensure that the food supply chain continues to function and support our communities through these difficult and uncertain circumstances.
"There is no need for the public to be concerned that store shelves will go empty, as farmers, ranchers and food processors are producing plenty to meet our needs," Sandison stated. "Deliveries to grocery stores, too, are continuing at a steady pace."
Sandison said the agriculture industry has the full support of Gov. Jay Inslee, and included a statement by Inslee:
“We are in uncharted territory that requires creativity and flexibility, but that is nothing new for Washington’s farmers, food processors, and food distributors,” Inslee stated. “The public should know that we are doing everything we can to ensure that all Washingtonians continue to have access to safe, healthy food.”
The state government, agriculture community, distribution networks, and related industries will "continue working together to overcome any obstacles we may face as we work to maintain operational continuity of our food supply chain," Sandison stated.