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COVID-19 Press Releases​

This is a list of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture press releases related to COVID-19. For a complete list of PDA press release, please visit our Pressroom, or visit the Governor's Pressroom for more news from across Pennsylvania.

Department of Agriculture Outlines Order of Restaurant Enforcement Actions, Urges Compliance (05/14/20)

The Department of Agriculture outlined the order of enforcement actions that would be taken against restaurants offering dine-in services to patrons in violation of Governor Tom Wolf's March 19 business closure Executive OrderOpens In A New Window to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth.

Wolf Administration Advocates for Senior Feeding Program Flexibilities, Congressional Action Needed to Protect Vulnerable Populations (05/14/20)

​Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Aging Secretary Robert Torres penned a letter to Pennsylvania's congressional delegation urging legislative action to enable Pennsylvania's older adults to access the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program during the mitigation effort.

Secretary of Agriculture: We’re all in this Together, Remember the Risk Essential Workers are Taking to Serve (05/13/20)

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding reminded Pennsylvanians the importance of mutual respect when patronizing Pennsylvania's essential businesses – whether it be a grocery store, farmers market, restaurant, or hardware store. Business operators and their employees are working hard to protect each other and their consumers in a safe, clean environment. 

Secretary of Agriculture Urges Congressional Support of Pennsylvania’s Vital Agriculture, Food Industries through Federal Stimulus (05/13/20)

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding wrote to Pennsylvania's congressional delegation asking for urgent support of Pennsylvania's agriculture and food industries that have continued to operate and sustain life in the commonwealth despite the great risk, stress, uncertainty, and disruption brought by COVID-19.

Wolf Administration: No One Should Go Hungry, Pennsylvanians Should Apply for Programs Designed for ‘Times Like These’ (05/06/20)

​First Lady Frances Wolf, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding outlined food assistance programs available for Pennsylvanians to enroll in to get them through current COVID-19-induced tough times. They said Pennsylvanians should feel no shame in accepting state and federal food benefits that were, in fact, designed for unprecedented times like the coronavirus pandemic.

Secretary of Agriculture: Farmers Market Season is Here, Markets Prepared to Safely Serve Pennsylvanians Amid COVID-19 (04/30/20)

​Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding reminded Pennsylvanians that with spring and warm weather comes farmers market season in the commonwealth. Farmers markets, like grocery stores, offer life-sustaining food and essentials and have been provided guidance from the department for how to continue operations safely and with minimal risk amid the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Wolf Administration Highlights Comprehensive Food Security Efforts (04/29/20)

As Pennsylvania works to mitigate the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, the Wolf Administration has made it a priority to address food insecurity in the commonwealth by protecting our local supply chain, advocating for necessary waivers and resources, and ensuring equal access to healthy food for all.

PA Department of Agriculture Adopts Temporary FDA Food Labeling Policy, New Products Debut in Grocers, Restaurant Delivery (04/29/20)

​The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reviewed the Food and Drug Administration's temporary policy regarding nutrition labelingOpens In A New Window during the COVID-19 public health crisis, and provided clarity behind new items for sale in Pennsylvania's grocery stores and restaurants.

Wolf Administration: Regionalized Priority COVID-19 Testing Available to Workforce Supporting Pennsylvania’s Food Supply (04/25/20)

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced that workers supporting Pennsylvania's food supply chain in select areas of eastern Pennsylvania – from farmers and seasonal laborers, to food processing facilities and warehouses, and grocery store workers – would be eligible for priority COVID-19 testing at the Montgomery County mass testing site or the federally funded testing size in Luzerne County, at the Mohegan Sun.

Department of Agriculture Waives Commercial Feed Requirements to Provide Farm Income, Options for Excess Food (04/24/20)

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced that the department will temporarily waive commercial feed requirements to enable mushroom and other produce-growers to distribute excess products as animal feed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure will give whole-food producers a market for surplus food and options for income to partially compensate for losses.

Secretary of Agriculture Outlines Steps Taken to Secure Food Supply, Address Food Insecurity in Pennsylvania (04/22/20)

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding outlined progress made in Pennsylvania to secure the stability of the food supply, increase market opportunities, protect the workforce, and ensure food is plentiful and accessible for all Pennsylvanians as the commonwealth works to mitigate against COVID-19.

Secretary of Agriculture: Pennsylvania’s Milk Supply is Strong, Choose PA Dairy (VIDEO) (04/21/20)

​Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding encouraged Pennsylvanians to continue supporting the commonwealth's dairy farmers by purchasing milk and other dairy products produced locally. While the Department of Agriculture continues to advocate for Pennsylvania's dairy farm families, farmers rely on direct support from consumers purchasing their products after the loss of two critical markets for fluid dairy and dairy products with the necessary closure of schools and restaurants statewide.

Department of Agriculture Outlines Updated Farm Labor Requirements, Advocates for Skilled Labor to Ensure Food Supply (04/21/20)

​Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provided farmers who provide housing to their workforce – be it domestic, migrant, or guest H-2A workers – with enhanced requirements for seasonal farm labor to maintain a healthy agriculture workforce to ensure necessary farm labor can continue during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania. The Wolf Administration continues to advocate for a safe, skilled agriculture workforce to perform essential duties to keep Pennsylvania's food supply chain strong.

Gov. Wolf Announces Nearly $16 Million in Funding for Pennsylvania Food Banks (04/18/20)

Governor Tom Wolf today announced nearly $16 million in funding for Pennsylvania food banks, which are providing critical assistance to Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 health crisis.

“COVID-19 has caused severe economic stress for many Pennsylvanians, and as a result our food banks have been working in overdrive with unprecedented demand,” Wolf said. “We’re proud of the Pennsylvanians who are sacrificing so much for the greater good. We’ll continue to push hard and advocate on their behalf, because no one should have to go without when they’re doing their part to save lives.”

Department of Agriculture Provides Guidance for Community Gardens to Continue Amid COVID-19 (04/17/20)

The PA Department of Agriculture today issued guidance for volunteers and employees of community gardens to continue working, with precautions, in recognition of them being critical to the resiliency of local food systems in Pennsylvania.

"Community gardens are an important piece of our commonwealth's food and agriculture system," said Secretary Redding. "Many of these gardens in Pennsylvania fill a void and address food deserts; this guidance is critical to further curbing food insecurity in the wake of COVID-19."

Wolf Administration Offers Guidance to Food Processing Facilities to Ensure Safety of Workforce, Food Supply (04/17/20)

Health Secretary Rachel Levine, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and PEMA Director Randy Padfield today hosted a webinar with food processing facilities across the commonwealth to provide recommendations for reducing COVID-19 outbreaks among employees and maintaining continuity of operations for a secure food supply. 

Gov. Wolf: Access to Food Assistance, Healthcare through Safety-Net Programs Available During COVID-19
(4/18/20)

Governor Tom Wolf today reminded Pennsylvanians that public benefit programs are available to families and individuals who have lost jobs, income and health insurance as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. These programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Department of Agriculture Reassures Pennsylvanians: COVID-19 Not Transmissible through Food, Supply Chain is Secure (04/02/20)

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Agriculture Food Safety Director Jeff Warner today assured Pennsylvanians that there is no evidence that human or animal food or food packaging is associated with transmission of COVID-19. Redding also reviewed the department’s recommendations to retail food and agriculture operations for continuity of business, inhibiting transmission, and maintaining a healthy workforce to ensure continuous access to food during COVID-19.

Department of Agriculture Reassures Pennsylvanians: COVID-19 Not Transmissible through Food, Supply Chain is Secure (04/02/20)

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Agriculture Food Safety Director Jeff Warner today assured Pennsylvanians that there is no evidence that human or animal food or food packaging is associated with transmission of COVID-19. Redding also reviewed the department’s recommendations to retail food and agriculture operations for continuity of business, inhibiting transmission, and maintaining a healthy workforce to ensure continuous access to food during COVID-19.

Gov. Wolf: Emergency SNAP Benefit Distribution to Begin Today, Local Feeding Programs Available (04/16/20)

Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Department of Human Services (DHS) will begin emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit issuance today in line with the federal government’s interpretation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Payments include a supplemental increase for both March and April and will continue to be issued for current SNAP households through April 29. DHS is also advising Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance of local supports that can help meet essential needs during the public health crisis.

Governor Wolf Urges USDA Support of Vital Pennsylvania Agriculture Sectors (04/15/20)

 Governor Tom Wolf today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging him to immediately publish a plan to support agriculture producers, food processors, workers, and local food systems, regardless of size of operation. The $9.5 billion included in the CARES Act – at Perdue’s discretion to distribute across dairy, livestock, specialty crop sectors, horticulture, and restaurants – has the potential to ensure Pennsylvania remains a national leader in agriculture.

Pennsylvania Waives Spay/Neuter Requirement for Adoptions, Conserves PPE for Human Healthcare Professionals (04/02/20)

​The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced today that in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for human healthcare workers, the Pennsylvania Dog Law that requires shelters and rescues to spay/neuter dogs and cats prior to adoption would be waived for pets adopted during active COVID-19 mitigation efforts in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Grocery Stores Will Remain Open, Wolf Administration Offers Guidance to Protect Workforce (03/26/20)

​The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today issued guidance for the commonwealth's essential grocery stores to ensure continuation of services to Pennsylvanians while maintaining a healthy workforce.

Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians of Food Assistance Programs and Resources, Encourages Volunteerism to Keep Life-Sustaining Food Services Available (03/24/20)

The Wolf Administration today reminded Pennsylvanians of food assistance resources available and what actions it is taking to ensure access to food does not stop in spite of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts. 

Department of Agriculture Issues Guidance to Ensure Continuity for Animal Shelters and Boarding Facilities, Offers Advice for Pet Owners (03/20/20)

In recognition of the critical role boarding kennels, doggie daycares, shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues play in ensuring essential workers and at-risk individuals have a safe place to house dogs and the need for continued care for Pennsylvania's strays, the Department of Agriculture today issued guidance for protecting staff and volunteers of such facilities. Advice was also offered to pet owners to protect themselves and their furry friends during COVID-19 mitigation.

Performance-Tested Bull Sale at Pennsylvania Livestock Evaluation Center to be Held Online; Other Events Cancelled, Rescheduled (03/17/20)

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced that the 47th Annual Pennsylvania Performance Tested Bull Sale scheduled for Friday, March 27, 2020 at the Livestock Evaluation Center will be held online only through Cowbuyer.com in effort to minimize risks of spreading COVID-19. The Pennsylvania Cattleman’s Association Trade Show and PA Simmental Spring into Excellence Sale, also scheduled for March 27, have been cancelled. The PA Angus Finest Female Sale will be held online on a later date yet to be determined.

Wolf Administration Directs Families to Emergency Food Assistance During COVID-19 Mitigation (03/17/20)

Today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding issued guidance for accessing emergency food assistance for Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger due to measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Wolf Administration: Agriculture is Essential for a Safe and Reliable Food Supply (03/17/20)

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today issued guidance for the agriculture industry on essential businesses and how those businesses can mitigate against COVID-19 while maintaining essential operations to ensure access to food. Governor Tom Wolf yesterday provided an update to businesses related to Pennsylvania's statewide mitigation efforts and noted that food processing, agriculture, feed mills, and grocery stores are essential services.Opens In A New Window related to Pennsylvania's statewide mitigation efforts and noted that food processing, agriculture, feed mills, and grocery stores are essential services.

PA Farm Show Complex Announces Cancellation of Events in Proactive Effort Against COVID-19 (03/13/20)

​The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced today that effective Friday, March 13, 2020, all public events scheduled for March at the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center would be canceled in response to COVID-19. Private meetings with 250 or more in attendance will also be prohibited.

Amid Universities Moving Remote for COVID-19, Pennsylvania’s Animal Laboratory System Remains Open (03/13/20)

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced today that while Pennsylvania universities are moving to remote learning environments amid the COVID-19 outbreak, including Penn State University and University of Pennsylvania where two of Pennsylvania's three animal diagnostic laboratories are located, the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System remains open for normal services, pending any changes in COVID-19 spread.