A coordinating structure that was first established in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is diligently working to protect US food production and avoid potential COVID -19 disruptions in the food supply chain. It’s not been easy.
However, compared to the coordination that existed in previous times and especially in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, “we are so many light-years beyond where we were,” says Clay Detlefsen, Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Environmental Affairs and Staff Counsel for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). He also serves as the private sector chair of the Food and Agricultural Sector Coordinating Council (FASCC).
Detlefsen said that Katrina was his “baptism into this arena” and it was a “horrible, horrible” experience compared to what he is seeing now. The FASCC is comprised of a Government Coordinating Council and a private sector coordinating council. He says that the Council has been dealing with COVID-19 for many weeks.
“Every time we have these crisis-type of events - whether it's a hurricane or other – we start weighing in and trying to connect private sector information with the government information so the government can handle what's causing concerns and problems,” he explains. “Basically, it’s about sharing information and trying to get the government to understand where we need them to do something and where we need them to just stop doing things.”