• Hours of exemption for livestock haulers

Temporary Hours of Service Exemption for Livestock Haulers

(March 18, 2020) — Due to the COVID-19 emergency relief effort, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has exempted livestock haulers from compliance with federal Hours of Service rules that limit drive time until at least April 12. Drivers wishing to haul under this exemption are suggested to print out and keep in their cab a copy of the Expanded Emergency Declaration, available here. The Expanded Emergency Declaration provides relief to those drivers hauling “food” and “immediate precursor raw materials… that are required and to be used for the manufacture of … food.”The FMCSA recently released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document available here, which specifically explains all classes of livestock are covered by the exemption and further explains how the exemption is to be used. Once the driver has returned to their “normal reporting location,” the driver must still receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty to rest.

If any LMA member has questions or experiences challenges using this exemption, please reach out to LMA General Counsel, Jara Settles, at or 816-401-1651.

  • Record meat supplies in 2020

According to Dr. Derrell Peel, OK State Livestock Marketing Specialist, meat production will be up compared to 2019. The perceived shortage is do to logistical transportation challenges of getting meat to grocery stores as people stockpile. The second issue is that retails meat sales are up 77% compared to the same time a year ago. Most of this has come out of food service and restaurant trade. Switching from what restaurants demand (middle meats) to what retail demands (ground beef and more of the end cuts) takes time for the supply chain to adjust. Read Dr. Peel’s complete article here.

  • Essential businesses and employees. Interim guidance issued by Ag and Markets

Interim Guidance for Animal Care Operations release from New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on March 22, 2020. Guidelines.

This guidance is provided for animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials and supplies, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed, and bedding, etc.; raising of animals; animal production operations; transportation of live animals, animal medical supplies; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; livestock markets, including live bird markets, slaughter and packing plants. It also includes equine operations and companion animal/pet stores and shelters; veterinary services for equine, companion animal and other businesses considered essential; and related support/service operations.

General Questions & Links:
Food Production, Processing & Safety Questions:
Employment & Agricultural Workforce Questions:
Cornell Small Farms Resiliency Resources:
Financial & Mental Health Resources for Farmers:
2 Minute Spanish Language Educational Video on COVID-19:

  • CDC Recommendations for Supporting Yourself
    Excerpt from ProDairy and Agricultural Workforce Development webinar, held March 20. Link to the recorded webinar and pdf copy of the presentation click here.

-Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

-Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
•Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

-Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

-Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

  • DHS identifies meat processing among ‘critical’ sectors

By Susan Kelly on 3/20/2020

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday issued guidance for industries including animal agriculture and meat packing whose workers it deems part of the critical infrastructure needed to mount a national response to slow the coronavirus outbreak.
The guidance is intended to inform community decision-making in identifying the sectors and critical functions that should continue normal operations, modified to account for Centers for Disease Control workforce and customer protection guidance, DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said.

“As state and local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, CISA is offering this list to assist prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions,” DHS said.

-Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees, including those in areas of food processing such as packers, meat processing, livestock and poultry slaughter facilities, and the production of food packaging.

-Farm workers employed in animal food, feed and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; and farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically.

-Animal agriculture workers including those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce.

“We recognize that states and local governments are working hard to ensure operational continuity. As part of that effort, we urge state and local governments to swiftly follow and implement this federal directive,” National Pork Producers President Howard A.V. Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wis., said in a press release.