Alabama Ag Commissioner Rick Pate: ‘We’ve got a safe, abundant, sustainable food supply here in Alabama’
On Tuesday, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) Commissioner Rick Pate reiterated his sentiment about the stability of Alabama’s food supply not being a cause for concern during an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN.
Pate told “The Jeff Poor Show” that despite a run of grocery stores and other retailers in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, the in-state food supply remains safe and abundant.
However, during the wide-ranging interview, he said the coronavirus spread had not come without some challenges for Alabama’s farmers, including labor difficulties as legal migrant workers are no longer able to come to Alabama with the closure of borders.
Nonetheless, he assured listeners there was no threat to the food supply.
“People go in the grocery stores, and they see shortages – but I want to promise you we can sustain that, and we’ll refill that two days from now, two weeks from now, two months from now, two years from now,” Pate said. “Our food supply in this country is secure. It’s abundant. It’s safe. And the thing is – our government officials, at least around food, haven’t given me any indication that they don’t understand that – the federal USDA people, the Homeland Security people, our own state governor’s office, our own public health.”
“I mean, anything is possible,” he continued. “But we’ve got a safe, abundant, sustainable food supply here in Alabama, and I would assume across most of the country.”
Pate urged those to be in touch with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI), either through the website or by phone (334) 240-7100, for further information about farming issues or to verify something is misinformation or rumor.
“[Y]ou might hear some rumors,” he said. “I’d like to know what they are because you might hear some rumors.”
Pate recounted a smaller stockyard that was under the impression the state government wanted it to shut down because to prevent the coronavirus spread.
“I don’t want you to close down,” he said. “I don’t even want the rumor that the smallest one in the state closed down. It will get said all the stockyards in the state are closing down. That’s just not the case. Every stockyard is still up and running, cattle being sold.”
Pate added that while demand is up at the consumer for some agriculture products, prices are low. He also warned of continued falling prices for beef given it is a staple of many upper-end restaurants that are unable to serve dine-in customers due to the pandemic.