COVID-19 INFORMATION

FOG and FFMA COVID-19 ALERTS

COVID-19 resources 

Hello All,
We received funds from Farm Aid to administer farmer support grants to farmers in Florida. We would appreciate your assistance in circulating this opportunity to farmers in Florida. Thank you!
As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to unfold day-to-day, we recognize that farmers across the country are facing extreme difficulties. To help lessen the financial toll of this outbreak, Farm Aid has launched the Farm Aid COVID-19 Farmer Resilience Initiative for emergency relief grants in the amount of $500 for farmers in Virginia**, South Carolina, Florida, and US Virgin Islands who have seen drastic impacts to their business and household as a result of COVID-19. At this time we are only able to offer this funding to farmers in these states or territories.
To see if you would be a good candidate for this funding and access the application, please read the following information:
Purpose of Funds: The mini-grant funding is $500 and is meant to lessen the immediate financial needs of farmers and their households. This means funds could cover expenses like food, medical bills, utility bills, etc. The funds are NOT meant to cover farm production expenses.
Eligibility: Currently we are only able to award funding to farmers in Virginia**, South Carolina, Florida, or US Virgin Islands.
**Note The following Virginia counties are NOT eligible for this grant: Alleghany, Bath, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Henry, Highland, Lee, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe. 
Priority Applicants: Because available funds are limited, we will prioritize farmers who 1) are severely impacted by COVID-19 to the degree that they are struggling to cover ordinary expenses, 2) are not able to access other federally-funded emergency relief funds (i.e. PPP, EIDL), and 3) earn a substantial portion of their household income from farming. Because our funds are limited, we ask that farmers carefully consider whether this emergency relief grant applies to their situation.
Review Process: All applications will be reviewed by a third-party review committee. Applications will be ranked from highest to lowest financial need and funds will be distributed to those in the highest need first. We do not expect to be able to fund all applications submitted.
Application and Payment Process: The application for emergency relief funds is now live! There is an online survey (link below) or a word document version you can download, fill out, and email back to Jarred White at jarred@rafiusa.org. Applications are due June 15th, 2020 at 6pm. We expect to start distributing grant awards by early July.
 
 
 
Question?
If you have questions about the application or are having difficulty accessing the application, contact Jarred White at jarred@rafiusa.org. 

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)