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Rural Migration Blog

April 2020

Farm Workers and Paid Sick Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201) requires private-sector employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide their employees with up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons between April 1 and December 31, 2020. DOL, which administers the FFCRA, can exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees if an employer believes that paid leave benefits would jeopardize the viability of the business.

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Food Spending and Covid-19

Americans spent a record $1.7 trillion on food and beverages in 2018, including $628 billion at supermarkets and $678 billion in all types of restaurants, including taxes and tips. Spending on food in restaurants first exceeded spending for food at home in grocery stores in 2015, and the gap was widening until the coronavirus closed many restaurants in March-April 2020.

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Corn in Mexico and the US

Corn (maize) is the world’s most produced grain. Most US corn is used for animal feed and ethanol fuel rather than food. The US produces about 367 million metric tons of corn a year, a third of global corn production of 1.1 billion metric tons. Mexico produces 27 million metric tons a year, three percent of global corn.

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Covid 19 and Farm Workers

The coronavirus, which likely originated in a food market in Wuhan in Hubei province in December 2019, quickly changed work and personal lives around the world. First in China, and then in many other countries, workplaces and schools closed and people were asked to stay at home to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

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