HELP DURING COVID-19
The coronavirus known as COVID-19 is having a global economic impact and this includes agriculture.
During this time of uncertainty, we want to provide a place for members and stakeholders to learn about what’s happening regarding the Coronavirus response. Here you can find the latest COVID-19 news from an agricultural and policy perspective in Colorado and beyond.
We face many unknowns in the coming weeks and months. The staff and board of directors will continue to work with federal, state, and local officials to keep the continuity of business intact while taking into account the serious public health consequences of COVID-19. In the meantime, everyone should know the US food supply remains safe and abundant.
Assistance for Small Businesses (including farms)
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
- Allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed.
- Includes self-employed and independent contractors.
- Paycheck Production Program (PPP) provides 100% federally guaranteed loans.
- Loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
Other Resources for checking eligibility and preparing to file for a loan
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Guide and Checklist
- Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network
- Colorado SBDC’s Payroll Protection Program Guide – How to Prepare, Apply and Comply with this Program
- Payroll Protection Program Eligibility FAQs for Ag Producers
- USDA’s Federal Program Resource Guide for rural communities, organization and individuals impacted by COVID-19
PROGRAM OPEN UNTIL JUNE 30
What you need to know
- You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit System participating in PPP.
- Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program.
- Consult with your local lender to see if they are participating.*
- The program is open until June 30, 2020, however, borrowers are advised to apply as soon as possible given the loan cap on the program.
- Small businesses and sole proprietors eligible to apply beginning April 3, 2020.
- Independent contractors and self-employed individuals are eligible to apply beginning April 10, 2020.
*Note: All federally insured depository institutions, credit unions, or Farm Credit System institutions were deemed eligible by the Department of Treasury to participate in the program. However, not all institutions have chosen to go through the process required to participate. Applicants will need to reach out to their individual lenders to determine if they are participating.
Be sure to consult with your accountant and lender.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, accounting, or financial advice.
Ag A Critical Industry
Agriculture was deemed a critical industry by the Department of Homeland Security. Governor Polis further identified agriculture as a critical industry. Therefore businesses and those engaged in ag are exempt from the restrictions put in place dealing with COVID-19.
Included in the order:
- Food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, food processing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering, commodity sales, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain;
- Veterinary care and livestock services;
- Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the processing, functioning, development, manufacture, packaging, or delivery of any of the categories of products for agriculture or farms
- Critical retail including Farm and producer stands, farm supply stores;
- And critical services such as food, commodity, and input Storage and Warehouse/distribution
Colorado Corn has made a document available for farmers to help their employees verify their involvement in a critical industry.
Steps to Manage the Farm
We want to keep you informed during this time of uncertainty as we move through the COVID-19 outbreak. We also want to pass along best practices for the agriculture industry, and especially for our members and stakeholders preparing for Spring planting. As the activity levels increase around the farm, limiting interactions and reducing exposure is the best way to lower the risk of spreading and/or getting sick from COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
It is critical to practice biosecurity for your family, your employees, the public, and animals.
COVID-19 Planning & Procedures:
- Identify and coordinate a drop-off location for supplier deliveries to the farm. If possible, set this up away from on-farm high traffic areas and housing.
- Create specific instructions for drop-off deliveries.
+ Provide the location and all procedures needed at the drop-off point.
+ Create signage to easily identify drop-off points.
+ List all point of contacts with contact information to assist with questions leading up to delivery and upon arrival.
+ Practice distancing with delivery drivers. In these circumstances, it is best not to greet them with a handshake. Instead, keep a recommended distance of at least six feet. Avoiding personal interaction is best.
- Log all deliveries and on-farm entries.
+ Utilize a visitor’s log for everyone entering the farm.
+ Monitor personal travel with a personal travel log.
- Prepare an on-farm workforce, including your family members.
+ Provide guidance for handwashing and handling materials. Make sure guidance is available and communicated to employees.
+ If you have off+farm employees or seasonal help alert them, all sick employees must stay at home.
+ If you have added sanitizing materials to the shop or in truck and equipment, alert employees where they can find them.
+ If your operation has a significant number of employees, encourage them to avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing during non+work hours.
- Sanitize contact surfaces.
+ Disinfect all door handles and knobs, floor mats, steering wheels and other commonly contacted surfaces.
+ Sanitize common gathering places – shops, lunch areas, office spaces.
It is recommended, for all farms to have Continuity of Business (COB) plans, to keep operations running smoothly in case of any disruption. Many state departments of agriculture are recommending farms review and update or write a continuity of business plan in case of disruption due to COVID-19. COB plans are critical for all operations; however, small farms may be at greater risk if a disruption occurs because the owner may be the sole caretaker.
It is important to have written documentation of your business operations in case of illness, so that another family member or neighbor can assist if you need to be isolated or treated due to COVID-19. Regardless of operation size, production practices, or type of operations, you are strongly encouraged to develop COB plans in case of illness or injury and communicate the plan to family or another person who can step in.
Credit: compiled with resources from National Corn Growers Association, Cooperative Extension and the Department of Agriculture.
Additional Information and Resources:
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