Central California farm workers practice social distancing as they continue work in fields

FIREBAUGH, Calif. -- Farm laborers in Central California's San Joaquin Valley fields and orchards continued to help keep the country's food supply moving.

Valley farmers taking COVID-19 precautions maintained their safety is a priority. The need to keep families fed makes agriculture an essential service.

Local grower Joe Del Bosque set up a portable hand-washing station for his workers. He explained, "We're taking a lot of measures to get people to wash their hands, stay clean, keep their social distancing."

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Workers picking asparagus on Del Bosque's farm near Firebaugh practiced social distancing by spreading out 10 feet away from each other.

Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen said during this uncertain time, it's important farmers are educated on what steps need to be taken to protect workers.

Jacobsen said growers were taking "extra precautions - covering of the face, making sure there's extra hand washing going on throughout the day, really trying to limit contact, not just during the actual work hours but also during breaks and lunch hours."

Del Bosque said his workers were eager to get back into the fields after the rain. He added no one has told him they did not want to work at this time though many have questions. "It's obviously making everybody nervous."
It can be difficult to spread out and work on a farm but it's an area farmers have to consider.

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Jacobsen said, "Ag just doesn't shut down but at the same time we want to make sure our employees remain healthy throughout this whole ordeal."

As spring moves towards summer, more crops will come into season.

Growers said it's important they keep their workers healthy so families can continue to enjoy fresh produce.

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