North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says farmers deserve our support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are a leading economic driver in the state in addition to growing life sustaining food.
“We will work to keep the food supply chain open. In the meantime, families should stay at home whenever possible and practice social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Cooper wrote in an email response to Southeast Farm Press March 31.
“Agriculture and food supply are deemed essential businesses in Executive Order 120. While we’ve taken decisive action to prevent the spread of this disease, we must also work to protect our economy and food supply,” Cooper stressed.
“Agriculture has always been the backbone of our state’s economy, and I appreciate the work of our farmers, growers, and agribusinesses and will work tirelessly to ensure they have both the full support of state government and access to new federal programs like paycheck protection and small business assistance,” the governor, a Democrat, noted.
Cooper said that under his executive order, farmer’s markets are deemed essential businesses and can remain open but should implement social distancing guidelines to protect vendors and their customers. In addition, strawberry stands and pick-your-own strawberry farms may continue to operate and serve customers as long as they have social distancing guidelines in place.