Coronavirus | Updates in Agriculture

This page will be updated as new resources are made available.

Resources

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
Are you a farmer or rancher whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will provide direct relief to producers who have suffered losses during the 2020 marketing year due to COVID-19. More here.

COVID-19 Pandemic: Orders and Guidance from Governor Hogan
Here are links to the proclamations and orders issued by Governor Larry Hogan related to COVID-19, along with interpretive guidance from the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel. More here.

Essential Farm Worker and Farm Contractor Permits
Governor Hogan issued a stay-at-home executive order March 30. However, agricultural labor is identified as a critical component of that food supply, and thus it is important that workers who make up an essential part of the food supply chain be allowed to remain operational. Download the permits for farm workers and contractors here.

Latest Updates

PPE Document for Food and Agriculture Sector (May 22)
The purpose of this document is to share recommendations for addressing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), cloth face coverings, disinfectants, and sanitation supplies in the food and agriculture industry in order to help maintain employee safety, continuity of the food supply, food safety, and employee/consumer confidence. More here. 

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Direct Assistance to Producers Webinar (May 13)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the two agencies will host a webinar on Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET, for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct support through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). More here. 

COVID-19 Pandemic: Addressing PPE Needs in Non-Healthcare Setting (May 12)
This guidance summarizes how organizations should consider and manage their personal protective equipment (PPE) needs while ensuring the protection of workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response. More here. 

SBA to Make Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to U.S. Agricultural Businesses (May 5)
U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. More here.

MARBIDCO Pandemic Adjustment Loan Fund Program Update (April 30)
The Pandemic Adjustment Loan Fund Program (PALF) has been designed by MARBIDCO to help Maryland’s food and fiber producers, harvesters and primary processors adjust to the business disruptions caused by COVID-19 by offering loans with a quick turn-around time. More here.

MD Chamber of Commerce Instroduces Safe Workplace: Best Practices for Reopening Maryland (April 28)
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce unveiled Safe Workplace: Best Practices and Baselines for Reopening Maryland, a set of guidelines for employers as they begin to think about reopening in a safe and responsible way in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. More here.

Ideal Time for Farmers to Try E-commerce (April 24)
There’s no time like the present for farmers considering e-commerce with more of Americans shopping for food online during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Illinois Farm Bureau’s food systems specialist. More here.

Maryland lawmakers will not hold special session in May (April 21)
Senate President Bill Ferguson and House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones issued a statement Monday saying they were nixing the special session planned for May. They have not ruled out the possibility of holding a special session later in the year. More here.

DHS and USDA Move to Protect American Farmers and Ensure Continued Flow of Food Supply (April 16)
The Department of Homeland Security, with the support of USDA, has announced a temporary final rule to change certain H-2A requirements to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful employment, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. More here.

USDA Opens Second Application Window for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants (April 16)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand today announced that USDA has opened a second application window for funding under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. More here.

Farm Bureau Bank Offering Paycheck Protection Assistance (April 14)
Farm Bureau Bank is pleased to share that they are now accepting applications. Unlike most financial institutions, Farm Bureau Bank is NOT limiting applications to existing customers and will be accepting applications from Farm Bureau members. More here.

USDA’s Risk Announces Flexibilities to Help Dairy Producers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (April 13)
USDA’s Risk Management Agency has announced new provisions to address milk dumping and provide other flexibilities to help producers amid coronavirus pandemic. More here.

DOT Extends National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles (April 13)
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended their expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak through May 15, 2020. More here.

USDA Unveils Tool to Help Rural Communities Address the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 13)
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. More here.

Domestic & Global Economic Outlook For Agriculture (April 9) 
Farm Credit of the Virginias recently held a webinar featuring Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech. Dr. Kohl provided his insights and an outlook of what the farm economy will look like following COVID-19. More here. 

USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities (April 9)
USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America. More here.

MARBIDCO Pandemic Adjustment Loan Fund Program Now Open (April 8)
The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) has established the Pandemic Adjustment Loan Fund Program to help Maryland’s food and fiber producers, harvesters and primary processors adjust to the business disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. More here.

Crop and Livestock Prices Plunge Under Weight of COVID-19 Uncertainty (April 8)
Updated analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows crop and livestock prices falling to levels that threaten the livelihoods of many U.S. farmers and ranchers. More here.

Domestic and Global Outlook within the Ag Industry (April 8)
Listen to Dr. Dave Kohl, Emeritus of Virginia Tech, speak on the topic of Domestic and Global Economic Outlook in the Ag Industry. More here.

Maryland Farmers Markets Operations During COVID-19 State of Emergency (April 7)
Markets that plan to remain open should be adopting practices that promote social distancing and mitigate the chance for infection To help individual markets implement these practices, MDA has created an FAQ document with guidance and best practices to ensure the safety of your staff, vendors and customers. More here.

Coronavirus Impact Ripples Across Farm Country (April 6)
From dairy farmers with nowhere to send their milk and cattle ranchers reeling from plummeting beef prices, the impact of the coronavirus is rippling through farm country. More here.

American Dairy Association Helps Retailers Keep Milk Available During National Pandemic (April 3)
Demand for milk and dairy products has shifted dramatically over the last few weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. American Dairy Association North East is actively working with retailers in its six-state region to ensure a safe, abundant milk supply for consumers. More here.

DOL Releases Additional Guidance on H-2A (April 1)
The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Foreign Labor Certification has released a Round 2 FAQ document regarding COVID-19. The FAQs address potential issues regarding the H-2A program. More here.

Enforcement Notice on Expiring CDLs (April 1)
The Department of Transportation is providing an extension until June 30th for anyone who has an expiring CDL and needs a physical to get it renewed. More here.

FSA and NRCS Services Available by Phone Appointment Only (April 1)
FSA and NRCS Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only. Program delivery staff will
continue to come into to the office, but will be working with agricultural producers by phone and using
email and online tools whenever possible. More here.

Guidance for Food Supply Chain During “Stay at Home” Order (March 31)
Agriculture and food-related businesses remain essential, however individual companies are asked to make an honest assessment as to whether their operation is essential to public health and safety. More here.

State Police Enforcement Of Governor’s Executive Orders Continues (March 31)
Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Woodrow Jones III has directed troopers to continue their public education and enforcement efforts regarding the Governor’s Executive Orders and last night issued specific instructions regarding the stay-at-home order. More here.

USDA FSA Announces Loan Flexibility (March 31)
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced that they are relaxing the loan making process while also providing other loan flexibilities. More here.

COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program (March 31)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a temporary enforcement discretion policy that applies to civil violations during the COVID-19 outbreak. This policy applies to livestock operations that have National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and that are experiencing disruptions during the outbreak. More here.

Maryland NRCS Operational Status (March 27)
As precautionary health measures are put in effect nationwide to reduce the spread of coronavirus, USDA is taking steps to ensure the safety of its employees and customers. More here.

What’s in the CARES Act for Food and Agriculture (March 27)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has roiled the U.S. economy, the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. More here.

Farmers Required to Provide Paid Leave to Employees (March 27)
Last week the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law. Two main provisions apply to agriculture employers; a requirement to provide paid leave and a requirement to provide paid sick leave. These requirements start April 2 and remain in effect through the end of the calendar year. More here.

State Department acts to accelerate H-2A approvals (March 27)
The State Department agreed to accelerate approvals of H-2A farmworkers by waiving interviews for many applicants, a move welcomed by agricultural groups who feared that embassy cutbacks amid the COVID-19 pandemic would leave farms without needed labor. More here.

American Farmland Trust Launches Farmer Relief Fund (March 27)
The coronavirus pandemic is impacting businesses that rely on direct contact with their customers, including farmers. To help directly support farmers impacted by the current crisis, American Farmland Trust is launching a new Farmer Relief Fund. More here.

Coronavirus Aid Package Critical for Farmers (March 25)
The coronavirus aid package negotiated by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and agreed to by Senate leaders and the White House will help ensure farmers and ranchers are able to continue feeding America in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. More here.

Stimulus provisions intended to help ‘all of ag’ (March 24)
A massive economic stimulus bill that congressional leaders were rushing to finish Tuesday could allow the Agriculture Department to provide multiple forms of aid to different sectors hit by the coronavirus epidemic as well as a fresh round of Market Facilitation Program payments. More here.

Farm Bureau appeals to Hill, Trump for help (March 24)
The American Farm Bureau Federation is circulating a three-page list of COVID-19 policy priorities that range from rolling back requirements of the H-2A visa program and suspending H-2A wage rates to providing unsecured loans to businesses of all sizes. More here.

Lawmakers seek to open door for more MFP, emergency farm aid (March 24)
Lawmakers may clear the way for another round of Market Facilitation Program payments as well as other aid to producers as part of a massive economic stimulus package that the Senate is considering. More here.

Agriculture Groups Call on Lawmakers to Support Farmers During Coronavirus Pandemic (March 24)
Forty-eight agriculture groups are calling on Congress to expand USDA’s borrowing authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation. Congress must act to ensure the CCC has the authority and funding to assist farmers and ranchers facing serious cash flow challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. More here.

Farmers Call on Congress for Support (March 23)
As congressional leaders hammer out an agreement on a stimulus package in response to the economic devastation caused by COVID-19, farmers and ranchers are asking Congress for help that will allow them to keep planting, harvesting and raising the affordable food that’s vital to every American. More here.

Governor Hogan Announces $175 Million Relief Package for Workers and Small Businesses (March 23)
Governor Larry Hogan announced the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state and a $175 million relief package to assist employees, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations affected by the pandemic. More here.

USDA Service Centers Open for Business by Phone Appointment Only (March 23)
U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Centers are encouraging visitors to take proactive protective measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. More here.

SBA Offers Pandemic-related Small Business Loans (March 20)
The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a “declaration of economic injury” for Maryland in response to the coronavirus pandemic, making small businesses eligible for low-interest loans of up to $2 million. More here.

Further Explanation of Tax Extensions Announced By Comptroller Franchot (March 20)
In recent days, Comptroller Peter Franchot has announced several deadline extensions for income tax and business tax payments and would like to remind Marylanders of these changes. Comptroller Franchot could extend these deadlines further, due to prolonged economic distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. More here.

Coronavirus Tax Relief from the IRS (March 20)
The IRS has officially announced that tax day will be delayed from April 15 to July 15. The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. More here.

USDA Rural Development Now in Enterprise-Wide Remote Operational Status (March 20)
Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand announced today that USDA Rural Development is implementing enterprise-wide remote operational status effective immediately. More here.

Coronavirus Complicates Census Count (March 20)
In the same week that Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) ordered bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms to be shut in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans got an invitation in the mail. More here.

Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response (March 19)
If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. The document was updated on March 28. More here.

Small Business Coalition Calls for Drastic Action (March 19)
As the U.S. confronts the coronavirus pandemic with unprecedented school, office and business closings, federal officials must take equally drastic action to help small businesses survive the crisis, 97 organizations representing all types of businesses and economic sectors said in a letter to administration and congressional leaders. More here.

COVID-19: Update to Food Supply Chain (March 19)
As the State of Maryland continues its unprecedented response to COVID-19, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is emphasizing the need for businesses involved in the state’s food supply chain to continue production. More here.

Homeland Security deems agriculture as ‘critical infrastructure’ amid COVID-19 pandemic (March 19)
The Trump administration has labeled agriculture as a critical industry in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, allowing businesses to continue operating as usual amid current and potential restrictions created to stem the spread of the virus. More here.

Farmers Markets Should Continue Operations During State of Emergency (March 19)
Farm groups are appealing to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to take steps to speed the approval of H-2A workers following his department’s suspension of regular visa processing services in Mexico because of the COVID-19 outbreak. More here.

Access Healthcare Remotely with Prosper Benefits (March 19)
We know you are being flooded with information regarding the Coronavirus. As an Farm Bureau member, we would like to offer you a simple solution to some of the stress you and your employees may now be experiencing. More here.

COVID-19 Resources for Dairy Farmers (March 19)
As cases of the coronavirus disease (also known as COVID-19) continue to appear in the United States, many dairy farm families and small business owners are working to navigate the crisis and manage their operations the best they can. More here. 

Farm Groups Call on Pompeo to Speed H-2A Approvals (March 18)
Farm groups are appealing to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to take steps to speed the approval of H-2A workers following his department’s suspension of regular visa processing services in Mexico because of the COVID-19 outbreak. More here.

DOT Expands National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles (March 18)
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. More here.

Farm Bureau Highlights Immediate Challenges Facing the Agriculture Sector (March 18)
American Farm Bureau has released its first assessment of the impact on farmers and ranchers in the wake of the national mitigation efforts to combat COVID-19. More here.

Secretary Bartenfelder on Maintaining Food Supply Chain During State of Emergency (March 17)
In response to the State of Maryland’s continuing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder has issued a statement regarding the state’s food supply chain. More here.

USDA Continues Focus on Service During COVID-19 Outbreak (March 17)
While President Donald J. Trump continues to take action during this COVID-19 National Emergency and enact measures to ensure Americans are safe, secure, and healthy, the U.S. Department of  of Agriculture continues to be open for business to provide services to the American people. More here.

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