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March 25, 2020 | Views on the News | American Feed Industry Association (AFIA)

AFIA Offers Shelter-in-Place Advice

How animal food facilities can best prepare for when your state issues this order

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

Many states are issuing “shelter-in-place” orders to battle the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Here are some tips from the American Feed Industry Association on what this means and what animal food facilities need to do to prepare.

What does a “shelter in place” mean?

  • Under such an order, everyone in the state is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care or go to an “essential” job.

Does each state get to determine what is “essential?”

  • Yes, local or state authorities determine what jobs are “essential.”
  • On March 19, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released guidance to state and local decision-makers on what they deem to be the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.” Under this guidance, the agency lists 16 industry sectors as imperative to the stability of the nation during the COVID-19 emergency, of which food and agriculture is one of these essential sectors. However, this is just guidance and a state does not have to adopt these industry sectors as “essential.”

How do I determine if my state has deemed the animal food industry as “essential?”

  • Each state should provide information on what is considered “essential” when making the announcement to shelter in place. For instance, California referenced the DHS federal critical infrastructure industry guidance in the governor’s executive order.
  • Where the orders are not explicitly clear, the American Feed Industry Association, working with the state feed and grain associations, will be seeking clarity for the animal food industry.
  • See this list for a compilation of state activities and executive orders (opens best in Google Chrome).

What can I do to prepare?

  • If you haven’t already determined what staff is needed to run your operation, the time to do so is now!
  • Prep letters you will give each employee when the declaration is made so that they can carry it with them while traveling to and from work. Include a copy of the state’s executive order or the DHS federal critical infrastructure industry guidance.

Whom do I contact with questions over the weekend?

  • AFIA staff will be available on weekends to assist members. Please email

AFIA will be keeping track of the state executive orders for your easy reference on the COVID19 member-only webpage. Please check back later this weekend for more information.


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. If you would like to photocopy, otherwise reproduce, or publish any of the foregoing material, please contact AFIA’s Sarah Novak or Victoria Broehm at (703) 524-0810 for permission.

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