Jan 24, 2022
NPC: Driver vaccine mandate to add to supply chain woes

On Jan. 21, the U.S. agriculture industry was notified of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decision to prevent the entry of non-U.S. citizen essential travelers, including truck drivers, into the U.S. who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The restrictions for both the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border went into effect at midnight ET, Jan. 22.

According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, an estimated 12,000 drivers could be prohibited from entering the United States under the new mandate. The vaccination requirement will likely exacerbate supply chain issues for U.S. producers and consumers alike, said National Potato Council President and Maine potato grower Dominic LaJoie.

“This mandate — being implemented with less than 36 hours’ notice — will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the already fragile food supply chain,” said LaJoie. “Truckers currently en route to the border who are not vaccinated or without the proper documents will be turned around and told to go home. Given the incredibly abbreviated timeline for this new mandate, U.S. retail and foodservice consumers are quickly going to feel the brunt of our government’s decision.”

The mandate also will impact H-2A workers seeking to enter the country who may similarly already be in route. “NPC is vitally concerned with the short-term impacts the announcement of these travel restrictions will have on the supply chain and ensuring the industry has an adequate and reliable workforce as the 2022 crop season begins,” RJ Andrus, NPC Vice President of Legislative Affairs added.

In addition to communicating its concerns about the impact of this snap decision to federal officials, NPC is working with a rapidly forming coalition of U.S. agriculture interests seeking to minimize the massive impact this mandate will likely have on the country.

RELATED: Supply chain problems especially hard on perishables

Under the temporary restrictions, which will be in place at least through April 21, 2022, all essential travelers crossing into the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals are required to be able to show proof of full vaccination. Below is a summary of the notification that will be formally published on Jan. 24 in the Federal Register (available here):

  • Rules are in effect through through April 21, 2022;
  • Will apply to all noncitizens of the U.S. at all ferry and border crossings and aligns with current air travel restrictions; and,
  • Will require self-declaration of approved vaccination status, with ability to provide proof upon request.

Cook Political Report leader Amy Walter to keynote Washington Summit

For more than 25 years, Amy Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision-makers. During the 2022 NPC Washington Summit, Feb. 28-March 3, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter will provide attendees with her unique analysis of the issues, trends and events that are shaping today’s tumultuous political environment.

  • What: Washington Summit Keynote Address by Amy Walter — “Where to Turn When the Political Climate Heats Up”
  • When: Noon-1:30 p.m. Wed., March 2
  • Register: Early bird registration and discounted hotel room rates end Jan. 31. Click register, view the schedule of events, and understand Washington, D.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements

Inflation examined on NPC podcast

How is inflation related to changes in the post-pandemic global economy? What non-pandemic-related factors have been influential in causing higher prices for some goods, including food? What aspects of higher inflation are particularly important for influencing potato production?

These questions were answered by the experts at Potato Expo 2022 to help members of the potato industry mitigate increasing costs.

During a first-ever live taping of an Expo Stage session, Eye on Potatoes Podcast host Lane Nordlund was joined by University of Idaho Assistant Professors Pat Hatzenbuehler and Liang “Jimmy” Lu to give attendees a better understanding of economic environment of increasing production costs, especially for fertilizer and fuel.

The full episode is available here for download or subscribe by searching for “eye on potatoes” wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Eye on Potatoes Podcast is made possible by our presenting sponsor, Syngenta. Delivering solutions to help producers face the potato industry’s complex challenges, Syngenta provides growers with unmatched field expertise along with an array of effective products. Explore syngenta-us.com/spud-doctor to discover solutions for your potato growing obstacles.

Potato Sustainability Alliance adds Toevs, Wenkel to board

On Jan. 4, the Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA) welcomed two new members to its board — National Potato Council COO Mike Wenkel as an at-large member and Ritchey Toevs as a U.S. grower representative nominated by the National Potato Council.

“The U.S. potato industry, much like agriculture around the globe, is at the intersection of addressing social needs while ensuring sound science drives sustainability efforts in agricultural production. I look forward to bringing my knowledge of associations and understanding of the key issues affecting potato production to strategically strengthen PSA’s role as the leading organization on potato sustainability in North America,” Wenkel said.

PSA is made up of farmers, supply chain partners, non-profit organizations and advisors working together to improve the environmental, social, and economic aspects of potato production in the U.S. and Canada. In conjunction with its partners, PSA supports the identification and adoption of sustainable production practices and meet consumer and market expectations by benchmarking and communicating the sustainability performance of potato production. Learn more at potatosustainability.org.

— National Potato Council

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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