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Agriculture Commissioner: The Food Supply Chain Remains Strong in Tennessee



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

NASHVILLE — Farmers, foresters, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers ensure community access to safe and abundant food, fuel, fiber, and wood products. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers are still raising livestock and planting and harvesting crops. At this time, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) sees no evidence of agricultural shortages in Tennessee. “The Department is monitoring supply chain impacts on the national level and will continue to do so,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Although we cannot speak to the situation in other states, we are frequently checking in with food manufacturer and food retail industry leaders in Tennessee. The industry is taking steps to protect employee health and accommodate for absenteeism on the processing line and in stores, while also working to meet consumer demand. We’re fortunate to have such a strong, diverse, and resilient food supply chain in Tennessee.” The food industry is adapting to the changes in consumer behavior. Adjusting a business model can be complicated and doesn’t happen overnight. People are eating out less from restaurants but shopping more at grocery stores and farmers markets, and even purchasing directly from local farms. The sudden spike in food purchases at the onset of the crisis led to empty cooler cases, however that’s starting to level out in many areas. TDA’s industry partners indicate that the supply of meat is plentiful in Tennessee, and they are shifting production focus from restaurant to retail. That requires changes in how meat is processed and packaged, which takes some time. Companies and their dedicated employees continue to process and prepare, drive and deliver, and stock and sell food products statewide. TDA is urging customers to maintain their regular buying habits so that the supply chain can keep up. Engagement on the Pick Tennessee Products website, mobile app, and social media platforms has increased dramatically. Pick Tennessee Products connects consumers directly with local farm products. You can rely on this free service to access the abundant, fresh food supply available in our state. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is committed to providing the services you count on while also following CDC guidelines to safeguard the health of our staff and citizens. Access the latest information on Tennessee’s response to COVID-19 online follow @TNAgriculture on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

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