Labor issues pork producers face with COVID-19

The Iowa Pork Producers Association shared the following updates with members today:

  • The Iowa Pork Producers Association is working with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to share with them the potential issues that pork producers could face.

    Regarding the employees of your pork business: IDPH has been recommending that all Iowa businesses cross-train, prioritize critical functions, and think about where they would pull additional staff, if needed. It is most important for the agriculture industry to have flexible leave policies in place and make sure workers understand they need to stay home when they are ill. 
  • What we understand from IDPH concerning sick employees at livestock operations: If someone worked while ill, then tested positive for COVID-19, IDPH will issue voluntary home confinement orders for all employees with whom the sick person had direct face-to-face contact (for more than two minutes within 6 feet of each other). If such a situation occurs and the animal facility is no longer able to provide care for the operation, IDPH should be contacted. An exception may be granted to allow asymptomatic, exposed individuals to work while wearing a mask.  
  • We are communicating with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources regarding information and requirements if producers need to make changes in their production flow. More information will be coming to you soon. 
  • The National Pork Board will host a free webinar Tuesday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. CDT on COVID-19. Given the recent global events, Dr. Heather Fowler, director of producer and public health for the Pork Checkoff, will lead a discussion about what we know and current control measures. 

    The National Pork Producers Council also will have experts on the line to share how they are diligently working for the industry.
  • Producers are invited to participate-register in advance by clicking this link.  

For the latest COVID-19 case counts and other reports, visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Iowa Department of Public Health

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