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This page provides links to some resources we have found particularly useful, from reputable sources that are frequently updated with current information. An overwhelming number of COVID-19 resources are being created; we are attempting to keep our list to the essentials. If you have suggestions for additions or are unable to find something you need, please contact any of our PFI staff and we will do our best to assist you.
PFI has paused in-person events due to COVID-19, but we are creating plenty of opportunities for farmers to connect in various online media and over the phone in shared learning calls. Head over to our Upcoming Events page to learn more.
- PFI’s Local Foods Page: PFI members can list their farms here, and consumers will follow the link to your farm website or facebook page (or wherever you prefer).
- PFI’s Facebook Group: Want to share an idea or ask a question of other farmers in PFI’s network? Head over to our Facebook Group.
For Specialty Crop and Direct-Market Farmers
Local Food Systems Response to COVID
Farmers Market Coalition: Farmers Markets Respond to COVID-19 — Best Practices, Examples, and Resources
Frequently updated with best practices from, and for vendors and markets around the country. This page also has relevant information for farmers considering on-farm pick-up, touchless pick-up sites, etc.
Basic customer signage for farmers market, farm pick-up, and farm stands during COVID-19: From Iowa Valley Resources Conservation & Development
Farm, Worker, and Food Safety:
COVID-19 Response Plan Template for Fruit and Vegetable Farms from the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with local farms.
COVID-19 factsheets and resources from The Ohio State University for specialty crop farms, U-Pick, produce stands, grocery, farmers markets, and consumers.
Best Management Practices for U-Pick Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic from Cornell University Small Farms Program
Video series about COVID-19 safety and best practices for vegetable farms and farmers market vendors (English, Spanish, Hmong languages, from University of Minnesota).
Related: List of COVID-19-specific disinfectants
For Meat Producers
Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network: Online sales platforms, meat shipping resources
For All Farmers and Farm Workers
COVID-19 Information for Ag Workers from the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health.
Legal, Financial and Policy:
Accessing NRCS Conservation Programs:
- The Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) has put together a guide on how to access Farm Bill programs (EQIP, CSP, etc) and interact with your local district office during this time of COVID-19 social distancing.
Paid Sick Leave (Families First Act): The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires employers with <500 employees to offer paid sick leave for employees quarantined or who have coronavirus symptoms (up to 80 hours at full pay) and also provides paid sick leave for employees taking care of family (up to 80 hours at ⅔ pay). Also extends FMLA provisions to all employers <500 employees, except in certain hardship situations. Paid sick leave offered to employees under this legislation will be paid by the employer and will be reimbursed through refundable tax credits.
Paycheck Protection Program (CARES Act): The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan program administered through local lenders and the Small Business Administration designed to enable businesses to maintain employees and payrolls in the short term during the COVID-19 crisis. Applicants are eligible for 2.5 times their average monthly payroll and, if certain conditions are met, these loans are 100% forgivable. The loans are government backed, which means applicants do not need any collateral or credit history, and there are no associated application or servicing fees.
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
CFAP 1.0 is now closed–but CFAP 2.0 remains open until December 11th, 2020. With differing payment structures from CFAP 1.0, CFAP 2.0 appears to offer better support for specialty crop and small grains producers.
You can learn more about CFAP 2.0 by visiting the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s CFAP 2.0 101 For Producers.
You can also learn more, and apply for the program, by visiting https://www.farmers.gov/cfap.
Producers are eligible for CFAP 2.0 regardless of whether or not they applied for/received money from CFAP 1.0. Think of this as a completely new program.
State of Iowa CARES Act Agricultural Programs
On August 25th, the Governor and Secretary Naig introduced several new programs designed to support farmers who have suffered losses due to COVID-19 and the effects of the derecho.
Learn more about IDALS CARES Act Grant Funding; apply online now!
- Meat Processing Expansion and Development Program – Business Improvement Grant
- Direct Marketing Grant (Livestock)
- Tuition Grant (HACCP)
- Equipment Grants for Producers and Food Hubs
Learn more about two new programs administered through the Iowa Economic Development Authority
- Iowa Beginning Farmer Debt Relief Fund
- Livestock Producer Relief Fund
Some additional resources for policy/programs:
- Legal considerations for farms, employees and markets directly related to COVID-19 and common circumstances that may arise as farms look to new strategies for sales and containing illness.
- Significant list of resources here for all categories of farmers, landowners, and friends of farmers.
- A matrix from USDA that summarizes both immediate and long-term assistance options for rural communities and individuals affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Includes training, financial assistance, and state and local assistance options organized by customer type (for profit business, ag producers, nonprofits, individuals, etc).