Important! State Guidance for Farms to Prevent/Respond to COVID-19
New York state has released official guidance specific to farms addressing COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). You can find the document titled "Interim Guidance for Prevention and Response
of COVID-19 at Farms" at this link: https://agriculture.ny.gov/interim-guidance-prevention-and-response-covid-19-farms. The document covers: cleaning and disinfection, face coverings, social distancing, high-risk locations, coordination with local health departments, employee health screening, quarantine/isolation, and farm-provided employee housing.
A companion document is a helpful checklist for farms to be sure they have covered every required item: https://agriculture.ny.gov/covid-19-operator-checklist-farms.
Also included is a tipsheet intended for farm workers (https://agriculture.ny.gov/covid-19-prevention-tips-farmworkers). This document is presently in English but should be available in more languages soon, and I recommend that you distribute it to all employees. Please carefully read the last section of the document titled "Empower Yourself," this section informs workers about how to file complaints. Make sure that your business is in full compliance with all federal and state COVID-19-related sick leave and paid family leave requirements and that you are communicating this information to employees, see this post (https://agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu/2020/04/01/covid-19-employee-leave-and-farm-employers/) for more information.
By Richard Stup, Cornell University. Permission granted to repost, quote, and reprint with author attribution.
The post State Guidance for Farms to Prevent/Respond to COVID-19 appeared first in The Ag Workforce Journal
USDA Issues First Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments
(Washington, D.C., June 4, 2020) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program.
"The coronavirus has hurt America's farmers, ranchers, and producers, and these payments directed by President Trump will help this critical industry weather the current pandemic so they can continue to plant and harvest a safe, nutritious, and affordable crop for the American people," said Secretary Perdue. "We have tools and resources available to help producers understand the program and enable them to work with Farm Service Agency staff to complete applications as smoothly and efficiently as possible and get payments into the pockets of our patriotic farmers."
In the first six days of the application period, FSA has already made payments to more than 35,000 producers. Out of the gate, the top five states for CFAP payments are Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and South Dakota. USDA has released data on application progress and program payments and will release further updates each Monday at 2:00pm ET. The report can be viewed at farmers.gov/cfap.
FSA will accept applications through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion in financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.
In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.
Getting Help from FSA
New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.
Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help producers identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments. Producers self-certify their records when applying for CFAP and that documentation is not submitted with the application. However, producers may be asked for their documentation to support the certification of eligible commodities, so producers should retain the information used to complete their application.
Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print a pre-filled CFAP application, sign it, and submit it to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery through an office drop box. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred delivery method for your local office. Team members at FSA county offices will be able to answer detailed questions and help producers apply quickly and efficiently through phone and online tools. Find contact information for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.
FSA has been working with stakeholder groups to provide further clarification to producers on the CFAP program. For example, the agency has published a matrix of common marketing contracts that impact eligibility for non-specialty crops and has provided a table that crosswalks common livestock terms to CFAP cattle categories. Updated information can be found in the frequently asked questions section of the CFAP website.
To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/CFAP or call 877-508-8364.
USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.
Resources for COVID Testing Farm Employees
Assortment of articles and a fact sheet to be used as a resource for communicating with farmers and farm employees regarding testing initiatives.
How to Talk about COVID-19 Vaccination with Your Employees
The decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a highly personal one, yet each individual's decision has profound implications for public health. At the farm level, that makes farmer and farm worker vaccination an important risk management issue. The more people on your farm who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the lower your risk of experiencing a COVID outbreak with consequences for employee health and farm operations.
As a manager, your words and actions have the potential to influence employee attitudes about the vaccine. How can you communicate effectively about COVID-19 vaccination with your family members and employees? Here is a list of Do's and Don'ts to help you have productive conversations that lead to more vaccinations.
Getting Your Employees Vaccinated
Right now everyone who is a NYS resident or who works or attends school in NYS and is over the age of 16 is eligible for the COVID vaccination. The vaccine is always free and in most cases documentation of insurance coverage is not required.
So I did a quick search for COVID Immunizations today (April 19th) and found that there was very good availability of appointments across the region within a few days. In come cases I could have gotten an appointment today. If you need to get someone vaccinated quickly, anecdotally I am hearing that if you go to a site at the end of the clinic, even if you don't have an appointment, there may be doses available due to no-shows.
New York Labor Roadshow VII
December 15, 2023
New York Labor Roadshow VII: December 2023 Offered by New York's Ag Workforce Development Council
New York's Ag Workforce Development Council (AWDC) is currently organizing Labor Roadshow VII. The Eastern NY event will be held on December 15 in Greenwich, NY from 8:30-4:15.