PPE for the Farm Community Distributed by Extension

— Written By and last updated by

On July 21, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper’s office sent out a press release regarding how the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services was collaborating with Cooperative Extension to deliver PPE supplies to agricultural workers across the state.

“Agriculture is vital to our economy and food supply and it is critical that we protect farmworkers and their families from this virus,” said Governor Cooper at the time.

The undertaking was to begin with 31 counties in the state (including Henderson County) which would receive a total of 900,000 reusable masks and “other” PPE supplies. The other supplies included disposable masks and hand sanitizer. This effort has now been expanded to all 100 counties in the state.

N.C. Cooperative Extension in Henderson County has indeed received the shipments initiated by DHHS and is currently distributing them to the farm community. Our shipments included nine cases of reusable masks, five cases of disposable masks, and 72 cases of hand sanitizer.

However, well before this effort began, N.C. Cooperative Extension in Henderson County had been working to secure PPE supplies for our farmers, farmworkers, direct-market outlets, and all others involved in agriculture in Henderson County.

Our efforts to date have brought in over $70,000 worth of Personal Protective Equipment to be distributed to the agricultural community. N.C. Cooperative Extension in Henderson County has been working with the state and local emergency management and AgroMedicine at East Carolina University to provide PPE supplies for this important industry. N.C. Cooperative Extension in Henderson County extends thanks to Jimmy Brissie with Henderson County Emergency Management and Robin Tutor at AgroMedicine for making this possible.

In addition to the supplies from DHHS, the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center has already received disinfectant, germicidal bleach, face shields, additional disposable face masks and reusable face masks, additional hand sanitizer, goggles, Tyvek suits and most recently nitrile gloves to distribute. The office is still seeking additional supplies such as more gloves, plexiglass, bacterial wipes, and other PPE supplies still required.

We appreciate the help we have received from local and state partners to make this effort successful and our agricultural community has expressed much gratitude for this program. We thank the Governor and DHHS for helping in this endeavor. We’re also glad we started early to be able to secure supplies needed by our farmers and their workers as the season is already underway.

We have tried to communicate the availability of these products to everyone via e-mail and phone calls. However, if you need any of these materials, please contact our office at 697-4891. We are glad to help as long as our supplies last. In the meantime, we will keep looking for sources of these items which are difficult to obtain in some cases.