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Farming, Animal Production and COVID-19

COVID-19 is impacting every individual, business and community in the world in unprecedented ways. It’s a time to be united, even if we’re all physically apart.

As people everywhere take drastic steps to protect themselves during the global pandemic, farmers and ranchers must continue to take care of their animals. Their work is a cornerstone of the food chain that feeds us all, and we’re doing all we can to ensure animal producers have the feed they need to nourish their animals. That’s always been Cargill’s mission, and it’s never been more important.

And as always, we commend farmers and ranchers for their commitment to the essential business of nourishing the world.

Thank you for keeping the world fed.

Commitment to our Customers

We are confident in the security and sustainability of the global food system and are working around the clock with farmers, ranchers and customers to feed the world safely and responsibly during this unprecedented time.

Fortunately, disruption in Cargill’s global supply chain has been limited, as our hard-working employees continue to operate safely in our facilities. We are doing everything reasonably possible to minimize business disruptions. As we provide essential feed and food that nourish people and animals, we are taking this responsibility very seriously and strive to keep our operations – and ultimately farm operations – running.   


Hear from our Heroes

Farming has always been hard work. But farming during a pandemic? Even more so. Here are the stories of a few of the people working tirelessly to help produce the food products that nourish the world.

“Exceptionally grateful for the truck drivers that are allowing farms like mine to continue to operate through this pandemic.”

– Amanda Freund, Freund Farms, Inc. 

“It’s challenging but at the end of the day I'm incredibly proud of the fact that we are maintaining 600 acres and appreciate that we're providing 2,300 gallons of milk every single day from this farm that's being consumed locally. I'm really proud to be part of a very healthy nutritious food product that myself and our community can enjoy.”

– Amanda Freund, Freund Farms, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cargill’s production facilities operational during this pandemic?

Our manufacturing facilities are an essential and critical part of the food supply chain – and they remain open. Cargill is taking many precautionary actions to keep all our plants safe and operational to ensure we can continue to serve our customers.

Is there animal to human (or human to animal) transmission of coronavirus?

The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration are the leading resources on this topic. Based on what they’ve shared, there is no evidence that pets, livestock, or their owners can infect each other with COVID-19, but there’s also very little research about potential crossover.

Coronaviruses are common among farm animals. Among livestock, pigs seem to be the most susceptible to coronaviruses. One of the more devastating coronaviruses among livestock in recent years was porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), which affected only pigs. It’s important to remember that anytime people are around an animal, they should use good hygiene. And if the animal caregiver is sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), they should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like they would around other people.

Can coronavirus be transferred to animals through feed?

While there is no evidence to suggest that feed is a vector, Cargill is taking all precautions, including limiting our on-farm visits to only those that are critical and ensuring proper personal protective equipment (boots, visibility vests for visitors to be identified, scrub in and out if working with animal, etc.).

How is Cargill handling on-farm feed deliveries?

We continue to deliver animal feed to customers. We’ve changed our delivery process to ensure no human interaction when picking up or delivering feed on farm. We’re calling ahead to ensure there are no symptoms on the farm, and the Cargill team is OK to proceed with delivery without any human contact.  

Is it true that farmers and ranchers are “stocking up” on supplies?

We believe producers are accepting larger orders to limit the number of deliveries on-farm. At this time, we’re confident in the supply of animal food ingredients, both coming in from international suppliers and produced domestically, and the ability for feed manufacturers to deliver feed for our farmer customers.

How have supply and demand of animal feed and nutrition shifted? Does this trend mirror the shift with consumers?

Farmers and ranchers are key to our food supply – and they continue to take great care of their animals. We have seen increased demand as our customers respond to the uncertainty in front of them. In response to this, we are operating many of our plants at high capacity to be able to meet our customers’ needs. One of the key elements to the supply is ensuring we have the ingredients available to make feed. We continually monitor supply and logistics. Our risk management and sourcing teams are working harder than ever to ensure that ingredients can reach our 270 plants on time; at this time, we’re not seeing any disruption in our supply chain, while we are managing to answer to a stronger demand from our customers. We believe producers are accepting larger orders to limit the number of deliveries on-farm. At this time, we’re confident in the supply of animal food ingredients, both coming in from international suppliers and produced domestically, and the ability for feed manufacturers to deliver feed for our farmer customers.

Are there specific species you are seeing more demand from? Or is it widespread?

We see increased demand across all the species we provide nutrition for – cattle, poultry, dairy cows, pigs and even salmon.

What are the greatest risks to the animal feed/nutrition supply currently?

This is an unprecedented time. As governments around the globe put measures in place to contain and mitigate COVID-19, the biggest risks we see are related to workforce, supply chain and transportation.

From a workforce perspective, Cargill is first and foremost focused on keeping people safe. If we face reduced staffing due to COVID-19 quarantines or restrictions, we may scale down activities or adjust shift patterns. However, by following Cargill safety practices and local regulations, we are confident our facilities will continue to remain operational.

This situation may cause logistic/supply chain issues for the Industry, but as Cargill, with operations in 65 countries and our One Team approach across sourcing from the farmer to the consumer’s fork, we’re well-positioned to continue to deliver what our customers need every day and keep our plants in service. We see increased demand across all the species we provide nutrition for – cattle, poultry, dairy cows, pigs and even salmon.

Is animal feed able to freely cross borders currently?

Moving ingredients and produced feed across borders is an important part of the supply chain. We are experiencing some issues with border crossings in a few geographies and are working with our suppliers, trade associations and governments to work through these challenges.

We’re working closely with the USDA and Customs and Border Protection to quickly clear up quarantines that may be imposed at US-Canadian border crossings. Our goal is to continue to serve our customers and facilitate trade. In addition, Cargill is providing ‘comfort letters’ to our suppliers that are crossing the border.

In Europe, we’re working with our trade associations – food, feed, grains and oilseed groups – to document issues and advocate with the European Commission to urgently extend ‘green corridors’ for the agri-supply chain, including certificates for use and document checks in the EU.


How is Cargill engaging with governments in response to COVID-19?

Across the world, the agriculture industry is playing a critical, life-sustaining role during the pandemic to provide food and feed to nourish the world. In order to ensure agriculture can continue to play this role, Cargill continues to advocate with national, state and local governments for the entire agriculture sector to be considered an essential business that is allowed to operate during this time. Recognizing the importance of keeping our workforces safe, we are engaged with government regulators to obtain proper personal protective equipment and to ensure government guidelines are applied to protect the health and safety of our workers and those working across the agriculture and food industry. Finally, we recognize the challenges that agricultural producers across the world are facing as markets and consumer demands change in response to the pandemic. Cargill, working with key agricultural trade associations, continues to urge governments to provide assistance to agricultural producers to ensure they can continue providing food and feed needed by us all.

What help is available for U.S. livestock and dairy producers due to COVID-19?

In March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, which authorized $19 billion in aid for agriculture, including $16 billion in direct payments for producers. Starting on May 26, 2020, producers impacted by COVID-19 can apply for direct financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The sign-up period will be open through August 28, 2020.

Livestock eligible for assistance under CFAP include cattle (including dairy cull cows), lambs, yearlings and hogs. Assistance is available to livestock producers who have an ownership interest in eligible livestock that have suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and face additional significant costs in marketing their inventories due to unexpected surplus and disrupted markets. Click here for more details on eligibility and payment rates specific to livestock.

For dairy, assistance under CFAP is available to all dairy operations with milk production in January, February, and/or March 2020. Any dumped milk production during the months of January, February, and March 2020 is eligible for assistance. Click here (PDF) for more details on eligibility and payment rates specific to dairy.

More details about payment rates, eligibility, and how to apply can be found on USDA’s website at

Where can I go for more information on supporting my animals?

Cargill has resources to help producers of all backgrounds thrive. Here are additional materials organized by species:

AquacultureAquaculture Feed and Nutrition
BeefBeef Cattle Feed
Dairy Cargill Dairy Dreams, Dairy Cattle Nutrition
Poultry Poultry Performance and Productivity Challenges
Swine Swine Nutrition and Production Solutions



Man leaning on a fence

People First 

We may be working differently at this time, but it does not mean our work stops.  

Our commitment to doing the right thing, putting people first and reaching higher will continue to guide every decision we make. 

We prioritize the health and safety of our employees, as they are essential in delivering the food we all need to stay healthy and nourished. We’ve adopted additional precautions to support staff at feed production facilities, including temperature testing where possible, cleaning and sanitizing procedures, prohibiting visitors from our facilities, social distancing practices where possible and offering shift flexibility to keep our major production facilities open.  



Community Support

Cargill is working closely with nonprofit partners and NGOs at both global and regional levels to expedite and ensure swift deployment of resources. We aim to help address food insecurity and nutrition needs for vulnerable children and families around the world, especially in light of widespread school closures. We are also making contributions to local foodbanks to develop shelf stable emergency food boxes to food-insecure families and have announced corporate matching funds for businesses and Cargill Cares council contributions to support COVID-19 relief efforts in local communities.

Globally, Cargill has already contributed more than $11 million through our nonprofit and NGO partners around the globe, with a commitment for more than $35M.

Our approach thus far has been focused on local communities surrounding our plants, support at the country level for national organizations (e.g. Red Cross, Food Banks etc.) and global partners including the World Food Programme and CARE. The national and global efforts have been coordinated across businesses.


Community Support Updates



piglet held in arm of person

Hunger Relief

  • Procurement and distribution of shelf stable and pre-packaged food 
  • Meal distribution through NGO’s, schools, healthcare facilities or chef movements
  • Distribution of Cargill food product donations 

Emergency Medical Response

  • Procurement and distribution of protective gear for patients and healthcare workers (masks, protective clothing, etc.) 
  • Procurement and distribution of medical equipment (thermometers, respirators, etc.)
  • Procurement and distribution of sanitization and cleaning products 
  • Dissemination of lifesaving information to vulnerable communities on how the virus is spreading and how to protect against it 
  • Distribution of Cargill ingredient or product donations 

Food Industry/System Support

  • Relief for impacted food industry workers 


In the News

Global Farmer Network - COVID-19 Update


Open Letter on the Value of Animal Agriculture

How livestock is supporting global nutrition, high standards of food safety and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic


Cargill is Working with Farmers to Continue Feeding the World Safely

Featuring Jon Nash, President of Cargill North American Protein business

Mental Health During a Global Pandemic  - Global Farmer Network

by Megz Reynolds

Photo credit: Alexandra_Koch, Pixabay


Cargill, ADM, Sanderson Farms implement coronavirus prevention procedures - FeedNavigator


Cargill Shifting to Retail with Higher Than Holiday Season Demand - Bloomberg

Featuring David MacLennan, Cargill Chief Executive Officer


There's plenty of food to go around, and Minnesota stores are getting it in - Star Tribune

Featuring Ruth Kimmelshue, head of supply chain at Cargill