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Will Texas’ Food Supply Chains Pass The Pandemic Test?

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The coronavirus pandemic is causing disruptions to food and agriculture supply chains around the world, including in Texas. 

Interruptions driven by the health crisis have slowed the flow of produce, meat, milk and grains to grocers. While families across Texas struggle with food insecurity, crops destined for stores and the food service industry aregoing to waste.

Outbreaks at meatpacking plants have slowed production as employers scramble to contain the virus and shore up worker protections. Social distancing protocols mean less space and fewer employees -- another drag on production. 

Texas grocery chain H-E-B has reimposed meat and poultry product limits to help protect the state's supply chain. How long could meat supply chain issues last? When and how will meat and other at-risk commodities make a full comeback?

What issues has the outbreak exposed so far about supply chain fragility? What's being done to boost its resilience? What are the biggest logistical challenges?

How does the system account for fluctuations in supply and demand during a public emergency? What contributes to supply chain rigidity and how could Texas benefit from a more flexible system?


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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, May 12.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.