Mar 23, 2020
Michigan suspends non-essential activities; ag exempted

At 11 a.m. on March 23, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer issued an executive order to temporarily require businesses to suspend activities that are not necessary.

This order takes effect on March 24, 2020, at 12:01 am and continues through April 13, 2020, at 11:59 pm. Below is an excerpt from the Governor’s Executive Order.

MDARD clarification on who qualifies as essential critical employees

Gary McDowell,  director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MDARD) said, in support of the governor’s latest stay-at-home executive order, that swift action is needed to be taken quickly to avoid catastrophic levels.

MDARD has issued guidance here on what components of the Michigan food and agriculture sector are deemed essential to provide clarity to the newest executive order.

There are many categories that are quite inclusive of virtually every job related to agriculture. To comply with the governor’s executive directive, MDARD suggests providing letters identifying essential critical employees. These letters should be printed on company letterhead and provided to the employee to carry with them.

Additionally, MDARD suggests working with contract service organizations to determine who (if anyone) is an essential employee that needs to travel to your location. MDARD will be sharing these guidelines with the state police to try to reduce any miscommunications and limit misunderstandings.

Identification for Employees, Contractors, Carriers, and Suppliers as Critical Industry Infrastructure Workers

Click here to access letter templates to provide food/transportation employees identifying them as critical industry infrastructure workers. 

For suppliersclick here to access your letter templateIt is recommended that you add these letters to your company letterhead. These letters seek to ensure employees are considered exempt from local restrictions such as curfews, shelter-in-place orders, and other mobility restrictions when reporting to, returning from, or performing work functions.

H-2A Program Update

Ag H-2A workers are still exempt from the current Mexico/USA border shut down but are limited to renewal workers only for Mexico-U.S .border crossing.

There are currently a limited number of appointments at consulate for this week and next. However, many more appointments are available after April 13.

Processing previously scheduled workers this past week was not held up at the border but destination farms are putting workers into self-quarantine groups for two weeks each with employers providing necessary goods for extra protection.

Destination farms are also limiting worker’s exposure to shopping by designating one person in a group to do the shopping for the group. Michigan housing inspectors will continue to work, however, they are trying to minimize on site inspection through the use of technology.

Photo: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer


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