Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner: Food supply chain remains strong in state

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Department of 'Tennessee AgricultureNashville, Tennessee – Farmers, foresters, manufacturers, distributors and retailers ensure community access to safe and abundant food, fuel, fiber and wood products. Despite the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, farmers still raise livestock and plant and harvest crops. At this time, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) sees no evidence of an agricultural shortage in Tennessee.

Tennessee Farmers Markets
Tennessee Farmers Markets

“The ministry is monitoring supply chain impacts at the national level and will continue to do so,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, DVM said.

“While we can’t discuss the situation in other states, we frequently check in with food manufacturers and food retail industry leaders in Tennessee. The industry is taking action to protect employee health and address absenteeism on the processing line and in stores, while striving to meet consumer demand. We are fortunate to have such a strong, diverse and resilient food supply chain in Tennessee, ”said Hatcher.

The food industry adapts to changes in consumer behavior. Adjusting a business model can be complicated and does not happen overnight. People eat less in restaurants, but buy more at grocery stores and farmers’ markets, and even buy directly from local farms.

The sudden surge in food purchases at the onset of the crisis led to empty cooler crates, but this is starting to level off in many areas. TDA’s industrial partners say the meat supply is plentiful in Tennessee and they are shifting the focus from restaurant production to retail.

This requires changes in the way the meat is processed and packaged, which takes some time. Companies and their dedicated employees continue to process and prepare, drive and deliver, store and sell food products statewide. TDA urges its customers to maintain their regular buying habits so the supply chain can keep pace.

Engagement on Pick Tennessee Products’ website, mobile app and social media platforms has increased significantly. Pick Tennessee Products connects consumers directly to local farm products. You can count on this free service to access the plentiful and fresh supply of food available in our state.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is committed to providing the services you rely on while following the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to protect the health of our staff and citizens. Access the latest information on Tennessee’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus online, follow @TNAgriculture on Facebook and Twitter for updates.


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