Resources for Farmers COVID 19 (Updated Daily)

— Written By Keith Wood
en Español

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Every sector of the area has been affected by the COVID 19 including farmers. Here are some resources to answer some of the concerns farmers may have during these uncertain times.

Assistance for Farmers

The Small Business Administration has low-interest loans available for small businesses severely impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. Small business owners in some states, including North Carolina, are currently eligible to apply. They also offer the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans that will provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.

Agriculture-Only Window Opens for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

EIDL has an agribusiness only application. These funds tend to go fast, so send out to anybody you think is interested. This application is for $10,000 as a non-repayable loan through SBA.

RAFI-USA will be distributing emergency mini-grants of $500 to farmers who are drastically impacted by market sales disruptions caused by COVID-19. Funding is currently limited to farmers located in North Carolina. Find out more and inquire about the application here.

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending Program enables loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months.

Practical Guide to the CARES Act

Potential Impacts on the Agricultural Economy

Market Information

WNC Regional Livestock Center will conduct regular Monday sales however, with some restrictions in accordance with the NC Governors mandate and NCDHHS Guidelines. The restrictions were put in place for the Monday sale day.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler applauds the guidance Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued in reiterating Food and Agriculture as being critical infrastructure industries to national security.

New Procedures for Delivering samples to the NCDA&CS forage lab

New Restrictions for Diagnostic Labs

To help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community, public access to the Eaddy Building has been restricted as of March 12, 2020. The front door is closed to all visitors. Our entrance gate will be open during normal business hours but will be closed during the evenings and on weekends.

Until further notice, our labs will be operating under reduced staffing. Although longer than normal sample turnaround times may be expected, we are accepting all routine client samples (soil, nematode, plant, waste, solution and soilless media) except waste samples covered by the NCDEQ waiver on liquid animal waste . Waste codes covered by the NCDEQ waiver are for lagoon liquid (ALS, ALF, ALP and ALO) and slurry (LSD, LSB, LSS and LSO). Diagnostic samples for all labs will continue to be prioritized for fast turnaround time.

Clients can continue to pick up supplies and drop off samples identified as essential on our loading dock during normal business hours. We will be happy to invoice clients for sample fees, but payment must be received prior to the release of a report. By taking these measures, we hope to maintain the functionality of our labs to meet the essential needs of NC agriculture while at the same time provide a safe work environment for our employees.

PPE Shortage and Pesticide Use

With the critical need for N95 respirators in the health care field, there are few if any “dust/mist” type respirators or particulate filters (N, P, or HE) available in the marketplace, as of April 2020. Distributors are not even accepting new orders at this time, and back-orders have delivery-dates in June, July, or later.

  • Pesticides may not be applied without the label-required PPE.
  • Home-made masks are not sufficient substitutes for label-required respirators/masks.
  • No exemption or relaxation of the requirements has been made by EPA.
  • Users may need to select alternative products or practices, if required PPE is not available. For example, re-usable gloves can be washed and re-used in the absence of disposable gloves.
  • If users go without required PPE, it may present an additional burden to emergency departments.Some herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide labels require respirators to prevent unacceptable levels of exposure. Structural pest control operators often wear PPE to protect themselves in confined spaces, in addition to label requirements. Many of our stakeholders may not feel the effects of PPE shortages until later in the year, so we have an opportunity to help them plan ahead.
  • Review product labels to identify key products that require respiratory protection.
  • Evaluate existing inventory and/or availability of PPE.
  • Seek alternative products or practices if PPE is not obtainable. There may be a very similar product available with different label requirements.

Sleuthing Tools: Hunting for Alternative Products and Practices

  • CDMS Label Database
    Crop Data Management Systems (CDMS) works with key pesticide registrants, hosting their current labels and Safety Data Sheets online.
    Pesticide Information Center Online (PICOL) for WA and OR – The search menu can find products by crop and pesticide type, and filter by target pest to seek out alternatives, and view current approved labels.
  • Agrian
    Works with manufacturers to have labels and other supporting documents. This search engine has a safety tab that lists the PPE requirements without having to search the label. The pesticide label can also be referenced.
  • USDA Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Database
    Documents include common pests by crop, and a variety of pest management options.
  • NPIC’s Product Research Online
    Search for federally-registered pesticides by crop, by pest/weed, and read labels online.

Low Path Avian Influenza

There are several confirmed cases of low path avian influenza (LPAI) in commercial turkey flocks in Union and Anson counties. No cases have been confirmed in this area, but something to keep in mind.
Other Resources

Written By

Keith Wood, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionKeith WoodExtension Agent, Agriculture Call Keith Email Keith N.C. Cooperative Extension, Cherokee County Center
Updated on May 4, 2020
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