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Chris Henney with the Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Ohio’s agribusinesses committed to service through coronavirus outbreak

In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, farmers across Ohio continue to operate to their fullest in order to keep Ohio’s food supply strong. Standing behind them are Ohio’s agribusinesses, which, as an essential industry, continue to diligently serve their farmer customers, while also managing the risks related to coronavirus.

Nearly all areas of the agriculture industry are considered essential, ranging from feed manufacturers and feed delivery, to agronomists and custom applicators, to support personnel such as IT, mechanics and operations. Due to the inherent seasonality of agriculture, agribusinesses have capacity to hire those individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of mandated business closures. Interested individuals should contact their local agribusinesses to inquire what seasonal positions may be available or visit www.oaba.net/careers for open positions.

“Our members understand the risk COVID-19 represents, but also know their importance to operating as an essential business,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “They remain committed to maintaining the high level of service their customers expect, while also protecting their most valuable assets: their employees and customers.”

With spring planting just around the corner, Ohio’s agribusinesses are a crucial cog in the agriculture supply chain. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the U.S., OABA members are implementing a variety of strategies aimed at reducing health risks. Companies have determined the minimum employees needed for daily operations and are rotating shifts between their employees to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Deliveries of essential inputs, such as seed, feed, fertilizer and more, continue uninterrupted, though companies are now requiring orders be placed via phone or email and payments made in advance via credit card to reduce face-to-face interaction. While this “new normal” has been an adjustment for agribusinesses across the state, companies remain confident about their ability to serve their farmer customers as they gear up for spring planting.

“Ohio’s agribusinesses have faced challenges before and come out on top,” said Jackie Seibert, OABA board chairwoman. “The coronavirus pandemic is a new circumstance, but through industry collaboration and guidance by OABA and other industry partners, members have quickly implemented new procedures that protect their employees while also serving customers at this crucial time.”

Mitigating risk is an integral practice of the agriculture industry. Personal protective gear is required when working in certain aspects of agricultural sectors, including grain bin inspection, handling of seed, machining and repairs, and much more. For facilities working in livestock and feed production, preventative measures to avoid cross contamination are common practices. While the current coronavirus situation is unique, agriculture’s ability to step up and face the challenge is nothing new.

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