GEDDES, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Those in the agriculture business are criticizing Governor Cuomo for visiting Central New York Tuesday and still leaving the state’s largest industries out of the vaccination plan. Especially when his announcement was made at the fairgrounds, which showcases the agriculture industry in the summer.
Alex Walsh, the Associate Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc., said he has been advocating for agriculture and food processing employees to be included in the state’s vaccination plan for months.
Walsh said back in January they were initially included in phase 1B but the night before that phase was rolled out, Walsh says, they were dropped from the plan because of the lack of vaccine supply. Now that the state has 3 vaccines, Walsh says it’s time to make a change.
“Agriculture and food processing employees have been on the front lines and are deemed essential as well. [They] have been working through this entire pandemic to ensure that our food supply chain remains intact and safe and that we have food in the refrigerator and on the shelves at grocery stores,” said Walsh.
Those in this industry have been working throughout the entire pandemic as essential workers. This includes farmers and food processing employees.
Those plants were a major source of COVID outbreaks at the start of the pandemic. More than 130 workers at Green Empire Farms in Madison County caught COVID last fall, one of the largest outbreaks the state has seen.
And as they watch others in grocery stores and restaurants get their shots, they’re patiently waiting their turn.