The Packer’s Tom Karst visited March 25 with Christopher Valdez, president, and Abby Taylor-Silva, vice president of policy and communications, for the Salinas-based Grower-Shipper Association of Central California.
Valdez and Taylor-Silva describe efforts to prepare growers in the region for measures related to preventing the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 in the agriculture community.
“In just a few weeks we are going to move from a period of heaviest vegetable production in the desert growing region into this region in the Salinas Valley,” Valdez said. He said growers in California’s central coast region are establishing baseline conditions with respect to worker health and hygiene in both indoor and outdoor settings to create the most healthy work environment possible.
The Grower-Shipper Association of Central California worked with the Monterey County Agriculture Commissioner’s Office and Supervisors, Monterey County Farm Bureau, Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association, and Coastal Growers Association to release a advisory for Agriculture Worker Protection During COVID-19 Crisis.
Objectives, according to a news release, include:
- Preventing and reducing transmission among staff;
- Protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications;
- Maintaining business operations; and
- Minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains.
Taylor-Silva said clear communication between employers and employees is critical.
“If growers have an employee who they believe might be ill, we’re trying to help them understand how to (set up) some kind of routine procedure to address that,” she said.
“Chris and I are compiling new information daily to help our members to make sure they’re taking all the appropriate steps,” Taylor-Silva said. “Worker health and safety remain paramount.”
She said the association is working to make sure growers have all of the sanitizer, masks, gloves and other items they need to ensure the health and safety of their workforce.