COVID-19 Resources for Farmers and Ranchers
UPDATE, 22 MAY: The USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will begin accepting applications May 26, and continue through August 28. The program provides direct relief to farming and ranching operations that have faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.
UPDATE, 05 MAY: The SBA is now again accepting new applications from agricultural businesses only for its EIDL program.
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak impacts farmers and ranchers, like everyone else, in their individual and family health as well as in their business operations. On top of that, the unique nature of agricultural enterprises introduces any number of additional considerations.
Here are links to collections of resources, assembled by other organizations, to help agricultural producers navigate these new challenges:
- The USDA has a general information page on coronavirus’ agricultural impacts. There is also a page specifically for producer updates on government agricultural programs. This covers agencies including the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency. This information is important, as many offices are now closed, and the page contains instructions on how to contact agency personnel to apply for and participate in grant, loan, disaster relief, and other programs.
- The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance has published a page detailing how agricultural producers can apply for forgivable loans (essentially, grants) up to $10,000 through the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Their post also includes information for farming operations to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP provides loans, also potentially forgivable, to cover payroll costs.
- The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition offers a detailed guide to applying to both the EIDL and PPP. The organization also has a National Guide to Finding Local Food.
- Farm Commons offers free resources explaining legal aspects of various COVID-19 related relief programs, including webinars on the EIDL and PPP.
- ATTRA offers an extensive collection of COVID-19 resources, including current videos addressing specific aspects of producer responses to particular circumstances, and comprehensive links to other organizations’ resources.
- Also, in a timely development, all of ATTRA’s 500+ publications on sustainable agriculture know-how are now free. (Shipping charges still apply for hard copies.)
- The Council for Healthy Food Systems’ resource page includes strategies for helping farmers markets remain open, alternative marketing platforms, sample guidelines/best practices for farmers markets, a guide to financial resources for farmers (including emergency loans), and consumer tools for locating local food.
- A Greener World’s resource page includes links to various extension agencies’ pages on COVID-19, online sales/shipping/payment processing resources, and a news section.
- Closer to home, the Kiamichi Technology Centers’ Ag/Business section has a page of COVID-19 resources.
We’ll be updating the Kerr Center’s own page of links to these and other COVID-19 resources as the situation develops. Please check back!