On the same day that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay at home order, U.S. Sugar employees and suppliers who have been deemed essential to the nation’s food supply and national security will begin carrying authorization letters to inform authorities that they are approved to be out of their homes and working.
The company’s farms in South Florida provide a significant amount of the sugar, citrus, sweet corn, green bean and other fresh fruits and vegetables that keep grocery stores and food markets supplied around the state and the country.
“Our farmers, workers and other essential food production vendors will continue working around the clock to keep safe, locally grown food on America’s grocery store shelves and American families’ tables,” said Judy Sanchez, Senior Director, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, farming and processing is considered “critical infrastructure” to continue the American food supply chain. As more and more shutdowns of entire counties continue, our family of farmers has not stopped working in the fields and factories to produce food for families.
Prior to DeSantis’s stay at home order for the state, only residents of South Florida, including Palm Beach County where many of the company’s people reside, had been ordered to stay at home unless they work for an essential business.
Employees, farmers, contractors, suppliers, drivers and business partners which are essential to the American food supply chain all will carry letters stating they are essential to the production of food so they can show it to local and state law enforcement if they are questioned or stopped while traveling.
“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule” said U.S. Sugar President and CEO Robert H. Buker, Jr.
The Company also owns and operates an independent short-line railroad, the South Central Florida Express, which serves essential agricultural producers that must remain in operation as part of the nation’s critical transportation infrastructure.
According to U.S. Sugar, these essential services also follow all directives by the State of Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and the federal government to keep workers and the nation’s food supply as safe as possible during this pandemic.