New COVID Vaccine Mandate Already Affecting Ag Shipments To Iowa
New vaccine rules that require people to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to travel into the US are already seeing market strains with imports and exports between the US and Canada.
Pigs from Canada that were headed to the US to be fed and slaughtered are getting stuck in Canada as a result of the new vaccine rules. According to an article by Bloomberg, last week a significant number of hog producers weren’t able to ship their weanlings to Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas due to a shortage of drivers. The same is happening with soybean meal shipments that ate trying to leave the US to Canada.
The Effect on the Trucking Sector
Borders can greatly affect food security. An article by Troy Media looks at how a vaccination mandate can affect the trucking sector. In Canada, this would disqualify 8,000 to 16,000 Canadian truckers from crossing the border. Looking at the American side, this would stop around 125,000 drivers from crossing the border.
While there already is a shortage of drivers, this could create an issue with food access.
Now, this won’t stop food from crossing the border, but we can expect the cost to get it there to be more costly. This cost will ultimately end up catching up with consumers.
Farm Bureau Responds
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall commented on the announcement concerned about what this could mean to producers.
Farmers and ranchers share the goal of ensuring the health and safety of America’s families. We also have a responsibility to put food on the tables of those same families. We are extremely concerned that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to require essential workers be vaccinated before entering the United States will limit agriculture’s ability to grow safe and nutritious food. Without a robust and stable workforce, crops could also be left rotting in the fields.
DHS failed to provide proper notice of the mandate, which gives farmers, ranchers and agriculture suppliers no time to prepare. Farmworkers and truck drivers provide critical skills and have been designated as essential by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Further limiting the available workforce will exacerbate existing supply chain issues as families face rising prices and fewer options at the grocery store.