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Florida farmers continue food production during Coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 7:33 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 19:37:09-04

HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. — Florida farmers are keeping fresh food in the supply chain during the Coronavirus outbreak.

This is a business with no shortcuts — If farmers don’t work, we don’t have produce on our tables.

U.S Sugar is a farming company that has been farming around Clewiston, FL for nearly 90 years.

Its fields stretch all along the southern shores of Lake Okeechobee.

Produce from their farmlands is shipped to tens of thousands of stores and companies across the country.

"We’re the oldest and largest sugar cane farming and processing operation here, and we’re one of the largest vegetable producers in the area,” said Judy Sanchez, Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.

Right now, farmworkers are playing a crucial role in our nation’s response to COVID-19.

“Even though to the farmers they’re just doing their everyday job, we are feeding America,” said Sanchez.

The Federal Government declared agriculture an "essentially critical infrastructure" needed for the well being of communities across the nation.

“It’s important for people to understand that it takes land, farmers, and farming businesses to continue to grow food, that it doesn’t just pop up in the grocery stores,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez says there’s been no shortage in demand since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak.

"Florida farmers are open for business, all of our workers are here, they’re doing their jobs, they’re getting their paychecks because what they’re doing is critical to the nation right now,” said Sanchez.

One of those workers is Rusty Hyslope, who's been with the company for ten years.

Hyslope manages one of the company’s farming areas where green beans, sweet corn, and other greens are harvested.

“We’re still here, every day, early in the morning until the sun goes down, doing what we can to provide people with safe, fresh, produce,” said Hyslope.

Hyslope says operations are running at full steam but they have added extra safety measures on top of the normal food safety procedures.

“the end goal is the same to put food on your table,” said Hyslope.