COVID-19 INFORMATION

FOG and FFMA COVID-19 ALERTS

COVID-19 resources 

COVID-19 and the Shifting Retail Landscape, on Thursday, May 21 at 2:00 pm Eastern (75 minutes).

REGISTER: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7221977606897238540?source=May19

With a full quarter of results to draw from since the COVID-19 crisis began, we will take a look at how the retail landscape has changed. Here are our Learning Objectives for this Webinar:

1. WHAT WE’RE SEEING: Analyze syndicated data to understand organic shopping behaviors and how they are changing due to COVID-19.

2. WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: Discuss recent consumer polling to get a pulse for how consumers have been impacted economically, and how they are prioritizing organic purchases.

3. WHAT COMES NEXT: Examine the market factors uniquely affecting organic, as well as past buying behaviors to better understand likely outcomes for organic in the broader economic crisis.

Join me and our presenters:

– Ryan Koory, Director of Economics, Mercaris

– Steve Lutz, Senior Vice President, Category Partners

– Erin Raese, Vice President of Marketing, SPINS

URGENT ACTION NEEDED! HELP US ENSURE ALL FARMERS ARE INCLUDED IN THE COVID-19 AID!

Farmers and farmer advocates: U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing to issue $16 billion in direct aid to farmers who have experienced financial losses due to COVID-19. But the program as currently designed will leave out thousands of farmers.

The program DOES NOT account for farmers selling into local/regional markets, diversified farmers, or organic farmers, and it doesn’t include an outreach plan or reserved funding for underserved producers (including farmers of color).

USDA is still developing this program, so now is the time to speak up and ensure the program works for all farmers in need of aid! Take action by sharing farmer stories, raising questions/concerns, and demanding USDA to do better. #dobetterUSDA

 

TAKE ACTION! 

  1. SHARE farmer stories, raising questions/concerns, and demanding the USDA to do better. Use the hashtag #dobetterUSDA
  2. CALL your county FSA office to register your concerns and ask questions. https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=fl&agency=fsa&fbclid=IwAR3cIROVGowCkP_OLX5cbLJ_8Q4tqiunlhM9rlyO5PJ6h55MDwAQUcHcP2w
  3. FOLLOW FOG on social media and check our website often, we will keep you updated.

Attention farmers! The Small Business Administration has begun accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis for U.S. agricultural businesses ONLY (which were formerly not eligible for the EIDL program). Agricultural businesses include those engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries.

Additionally, SBA has resumed processing EIDL applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying. Learn more and apply here: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications

For General loan info: 

https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources#section-header-8  

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):  To apply, https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/.   Max amount is $2.0M

SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program  Max amount 10 Million. Loan forgiveness option 

State of Florida assistance 

State of FL employer assistance program: http://www.floridajobs.org/office-directory/division-of-workforce-services/reemployment-assistance-programs/short-time-compensation-program-for-employers

Florida Department of Agriculture General info: https://www.fdacs.gov/Agriculture-Industry/Keep-Florida-Growing

U-Pick farm locator: https://www.fdacs.gov/Consumer-Resources/Buy-Fresh-From-Florida/U-Pick-Farms

Florida Farm to you program: https://www.fdacs.gov/Agriculture-Industry/Florida-Farm-To-You 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Provisions in the CARES Act: http://floridajobs.org/

H2A Visa program information; https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-2a-temporary-agricultural-workers 

USDA 

USDA General info: https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus

New Flexibilities on Crop Insurance Due to COVID-19: https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus

Florida has declared farmers’ markets an essential service during COVID-19. In light of all of the health concerns around gathering, many markets across the state have decided to temporarily close their locations or make changes to their operations. Below the FFMA has put together a list of guidelines and precautions for farmers markets that are able to continue to operate during the pandemic.  Thank you to all who are working hard to keep our communities safe and fed.

Markets:

  1. Before opening or re-opening, talk with your vendors, market board, and local officials about how to do so safely

  2. Limit vendors to essential services (such as food and personal care items)
  3. Rethink and re-organize the market layout to encourage social distancing
  4. Limit exits and entrances to help re-organize layout and manage/limit number of shoppers allowed into the market at one time
  5. Communicate clearly and on a regular basis with your vendors to ensure an understanding of your market’s new policies and procedures
  6. Ensure that vendors and customers understand that they are not allowed to attend markets if they are sick or are showing any symptoms of COVID-19: fever, dry cough, shortness of breath.  Managers should monitor vendors and customers and feel comfortable asking those showing any symptoms to leave immediately
  7. Ensure that vendor stalls are spaced 6 ft apart
  8. Waive any cancellation fees for vendors
  9. Consider communicating new policies to customers through signage and handouts
  10. Suspend tastings, demos, entertainment, or anything else that gives the impression that markets are operating as business as usual.
  11. Remove or block off any seating areas to encourage get-in-get-out shopping
  12. Make handwashing and hand sanitizer stations available and encourage vendors to make sanitizer available at their stands
  13. Consider helping vendors set up new ways to sell products including pre-orders, drive-thru options, etc.

Vendors:

  1. Vendors in high-risk categories, showing symptoms, or anyone knowingly in contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home

  2. Create clearly marked lines with 6ft spacing for shoppers and ensure a safe distance between yourself and customers during transactions
  3. Minimize or eliminate the ability for shoppers to touch produce they are not purchasing
  4. For vendor table set up, avoid materials that are not easily sanitized (i.e.: tablecloths)
  5. Wear gloves and masks (and change gloves often!)
  6. Disinfect all market equipment thoroughly before and aftermarket including tabletops, POS, cash boxes, etc.
  7. Consider creating new ways for shoppers to purchase products including pre-orders, drive-thru options, etc. and let your customers know how they can access your products

Shoppers:

  1. If you are showing any symptoms, are in a high-risk category, or are in contact with anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 do not attend markets

  2. Plan your shopping ahead of time to minimize the time spent in the market. Get in and get out.
  3. Practice social distancing. Stand 6 feet from everyone, use hand sanitizers, wash hands often and wash produce when you get home
  4. Consider purchasing products from farmers and vendors through alternative avenues such as pre-orders, drive-thru options, etc. Ask vendors about these options

10% bleach mixture (bleach & water) is a good way to sanitize surfaces (https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK214356/&sa=D&source=hangouts&ust=1587141028443000&usg=AFQjCNFVe-J7OksBhYirroOTq3CocNyJtA)