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agriculture

July 10, 2020 - 1:28pm

Press release:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today (July 10) announced approximately $4 million in available funding to develop partnerships to leverage USDA and local, state, and private sector resources to address challenges for limited resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers, and communities.

The program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

The Centers of Community Prosperity initiative was launched by Secretary Sonny Perdue in 2019 to increase the capacity of rural and underserved communities through extensive collaboration, tailored technical assistance, and a community’s designation as a Community of Faith and Opportunity.

“This initiative is designed to assist persistent poverty communities with limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers to strategically address community challenges,” said Mike Beatty, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “We hope to assist in fostering hope and opportunity, wealth creation, and asset building for communities across the country.”

Community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and tribal entities may compete for Community Prosperity funding on projects that provide outreach, education and training in agriculture, conservation, agribusiness, and forestry, with a focus on economic and workforce development, innovation and technology, and quality of life through food and agriculture.

The deadline for applications is Aug. 24. See the request for applications for full details.

USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement develops and maintains partnerships focused on solutions to challenges facing rural and underserved communities in the United States, connecting those communities to the education, tools and resources available to them through USDA programs and initiatives. Learn more at www.usda.gov/partnerships.

July 9, 2020 - 2:01pm

Press release:

Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an initial list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made other adjustments to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data.

Producers will be able to submit applications that include these commodities on Monday, July 13. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting through Aug. 28 applications for CFAP, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects additional eligible commodities to be announced in the coming weeks. 

“When we announced this program earlier this year, we asked for public input and received a good response," Secretary Perdue said. "After reviewing the comments received and analyzing our USDA Market News data, we are adding new commodities, as well as making updates to the program for existing eligible commodities.

"This is an example of government working for the people – we asked for input and we updated the program based on the comments we received.”

USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22.

Changes to CFAP include:

  • Adding the following commodities: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce – including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf – marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.
  • Expanding for seven currently eligible commodities – apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro – CARES Act funding for sales losses because USDA found these commodities had a 5 percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for marketing adjustments.
  • Determining that peaches and rhubarb no longer qualify for payment under the CARES Act sales loss category.
  • Correcting payment rates for apples, artichokes, asparagus, blueberries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, garlic, kiwifruit, mushrooms, papaya, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, tangerines and taro.

Additional details can be found in the Federal Register in the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and Final Rule Correction and at www.farmers.gov/cfap.

Producers have several options for applying to the CFAP program:
  • Using an online portal, accessible at farmers.gov/cfap, allows producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center. New commodities will be available in the system on July 13.
  • Completing the application form using our CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at farmers.gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center. An updated version with the new commodities will be available on the website on July 13.
  • Downloading the AD-3114 application form from farmers.gov/cfap and manually completing the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status to check the status of your local office.

USDA Service Centers can also work with producers to complete and securely transmit digitally signed applications through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. Producers who are interested in digitally signing their applications should notify their local service centers when calling to discuss the CFAP application process. You can learn more about these solutions at farmers.gov/mydocs.

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.

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file. 

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment.

Service Centers that are open for appointments will prescreen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in office, by phone and using online tools.

More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

June 17, 2020 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, agriculture, Pavilion, Noblehurst Farms.
Video Sponsor

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul paid a visit to Noblehurst Farms in Pavilion today to highlight the Nourish NY program, which purchased $25 million in agricultural products from farms throughout the state to distribute at food banks from New York City to Buffalo.

June 4, 2020 - 12:29pm

Press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C.: 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.

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 p.m. ET. The report can be viewed here.

FSA will accept applications through Aug. 28. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion in financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5-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 on this website. 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.

Policy Clarifications

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.

More Information

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only; call (877) 508-8364. 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 here.

June 3, 2020 - 1:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, video, news, Pavilion, Noblehurst Farms, Craigs Creamery.
Video Sponsor

On Monday, Craigs Creamery/Noblehurst Farms in Pavilion hosted a milk giveaway. Every car the showed up got at least a gallon of milk for free, with a total of 2,000 gallons available. The distribution was in conjunction with Natural Upcycling, Dairy Farmers of America, and the Livingston County Farm Bureau and took place on World Milk Day.

The milk was processed by Pittsford Farms Dairy. When Billie and I lived in Pittsford, that was the only place we ever bought milk. It's the best. Below is a video about the dairy I produced in 2008 as a project for a video production class I was in at the time.

May 28, 2020 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, covid-19, New York Farm Bureau.

Press release:

New York State has issued comprehensive guidance to help farms manage and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and New York Farm Bureau is asking farms across the state to review the information and put it to practice.

The guidance follows a letter NYFB President David Fisher wrote to Governor Cuomo in April asking for this assistance.

Farms have implemented a number of health and safety practices to protect their families and employees, but still had lacked comprehensive protocols from state officials that are specific to the unique aspects of agriculture.

The new guidance includes information for farmworkers, detailed cleaning protocols and a checklist for farms to follow.

“Planting season is underway and guest workers are arriving on farms," said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau president. "If we are to farm and produce food in a safe and responsible manner, farmers need to understand how best to do that amid a pandemic.

"I would like to thank Governor Cuomo as well as the Commissioners of Agriculture and Markets, Health and Labor for the newly released guidance. Farm safety is extremely important, and we must do all that we can to inform our farms, protect our valuable employees, and prevent a potential spread of the virus. No place of business is immune from the virus, and I ask my fellow farmers to continue to be proactive in their efforts."

NYFB has emailed the guidance to its members as well as published the information on the COVID-19 page of its website.

Since the pandemic began, the organization has worked with its partners across agriculture to provide members with the resources they need in these times. In addition, NYFB and Cornell Cooperative Extension have been conducting outreach to county health departments across the state to assess preparedness and quarantine housing options should an outbreak occur on a farm.

NYFB has also established a farmworker relief database to connect farms with potential temporary employees should they be needed.

Links to the NYS documents in English are below. NYFB expects NYS to release similar versions in Spanish in the near future.

May 26, 2020 - 1:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in USDA, CFAP, agriculture, business, coronavirus, Farm Service Agency.

Press release:

Agricultural producers can now (May 26) apply for USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from coronavirus pandemic.

The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency set up a call center in order to simplify how they serve new customers acorss the nation.

“We know New York producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said Clark Putman, state executive director for FSA in New York. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.” 

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28.

Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital 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.

“We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply,” Putman said. 

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.

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 identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.

Additionally, producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

Applying for Assistance

Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application, sign, and submit to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred method.

Find contact information for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.

Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested after the application is filed. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

Additional Commodities

USDA is also establishing a process for the public to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that the public believes to have either:

  1. Suffered a 5 percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel; 
  3. Or not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.

More information about this process is available on farmers.gov/cfap.

More Information

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.

May 26, 2020 - 12:38pm

Video and press release submitted by Tricia Werth.

Please meet this year's Genesee County Dairy Princess Court.

  • Dairy Princess -- Miah Werth
  • Dairy Ambassadors -- Amelia BrewerJillian BrewerGeorgia LuftCarolyn Sybertz and Maggie Winspear
  • Dairy Maids -- Chloe LambClaire Lamb, Caroline Luft and Annalise Sybertz

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the girls were unable to have their annual pageant. They chose to think outside the box and designed this pageant video.

They had a lot of fun creating each of their videos, even enjoying some bloopers along the way.

Dairy Princess Miah Werth and her Court are eager to help support our local dairy farmers while promoting the dairy industry over the next year. Miah said that this year will look extremely different, but she is excited for everyone to see all the ideas she and her Court have been thinking of.

The Genesee County Dairy Princess Program is made possible through the support of American Dairy Association North East, the local planning and management organization funded by Dairy Checkoff Program dollars. They help to build demand and sales for milk and dairy food in the local region

ADA North East represents more than 10,000 dairy farm families in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia.

ADA North East also assists in developing local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail stores and in schools.

Please reach out to [email protected] or Miah's mother, Trisha Werth at (716) 560-0843 if you would like the Genesee County Dairy Princess Court to help promote the nutritional value of dairy products at your next event.

Submitted photo below: Front -- Caroline Luft, Annalise Sybertz, Chloe Lamb; Back -- Georgia Luft, Jillian Brewer, Miah Werth, Carolyn Sybertz, Amelia Brewer and Maggie Winspear. Not in picture: Claire Lamb.

May 21, 2020 - 8:15am

Statement from Mindy Brashears, Ph.D., USDA undersecretary for Food Safety, and Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for Food Policy and Response:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the COVID-19 pandemic response continues, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been working around the clock on many fronts to support the U.S. food and agriculture sector so that Americans continue to have access to a safe and robust food supply.

As a next step in carrying out Executive Order 13917, the USDA and FDA today announced Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help prevent interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities, including fruit and vegetable processing.

This is an important preparedness effort as we are approaching peak harvesting seasons, when many fruits and vegetables grown across the U.S. are sent to be frozen or canned. The MOU creates a process for the two agencies to make determinations about circumstances in which the USDA could exercise its authority under the Defense Production Act (DPA) with regard to certain domestic food resource facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods, as well as to those that grow or harvest food that fall within the FDA’s jurisdiction.

While the FDA will continue to work with state and local regulators in a collaborative manner, further action under the DPA may be taken, should it be needed, to ensure the continuity of our food supply. As needed, the FDA will work in consultation with state, local, tribal and territorial regulatory and public health partners; industry or commodity sector; and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to chart a path toward resuming and/or maintaining operations while keeping employees safe.

We are extremely grateful to essential workers for everything they do every day to keep our pantries, refrigerators and freezers stocked. All of the food and agriculture sector -- whether it is regulated by the USDA or FDA -- are considered critical infrastructure, and it is vital for the public health that they continue to operate in accordance with guidelines from the CDC and OSHA regarding worker health and safety. As we work to get through the current challenge together, we remain committed to workers’ safety, as well as ensuring the availability of foods, and that our food remains among the safest in the world.

Additional Information

On April 28, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order 13917, Delegating Authority Under the Defense Production Act with Respect to the Food Supply Chain Resources During the National Emergency Caused by the Outbreak of COVID-19, delegating the powers of the President under the DPA to the Secretary of Agriculture to ensure continuity of operations for our nation’s food supply chain.

The Executive Order gave the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to use the DPA if needed to require the fulfillment of contracts at food processing facilities. The MOU makes clear that the FDA will work with stakeholders to monitor the food supply for food resources not under the USDA’s exclusive jurisdiction in order to prevent interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities.

This action is another in a series of proactive steps the USDA and FDA have taken to maximize food availability following unprecedented disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to food supply chains that have been established and refined for decades.

Supporting Industry and Protecting Frontline Workers

Our nation’s food and agriculture facilities and workers play an integral role in the continuity of our food supply chain.

The USDA and FDA have been working to ensure that frontline workers in food facilities and retailers that have remained on the job during this crisis have the information and resources they need for business continuity and to continue working safely, which includes mitigating the risk of spreading COVID-19. We continue to provide information and update frequently asked questions on both the FDA and USDA’s websites.

We will continue to work with facilities and farms, CDC, OSHA, and state, tribal, and local officials to ensure facilities and farms are implementing practices consistent with federal worker safety guidelines to keep employees safe and continue operations.

We are working with our federal partners who have the authority and expertise over worker safety to develop information on protecting worker health. We are also working with other federal partners to assist the food and agriculture industry in addressing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), cloth face coverings, disinfectants and sanitation supplies.

Monitoring and Securing Human and Animal Food Supply Chains 24/7

Throughout the pandemic, the USDA and FDA have been closely monitoring the food supply chain for shortages in collaboration with industry and our federal and state partners. We are in regular contact with food manufacturers and grocery stores.

We have issued guidances to ensure regulatory flexibility to safely reroute food that typically would be bought in bulk by food facilities and restaurants, like eggs and flour, directly to consumer.

Food Safety Reminders for Every American

As we continue to respond to COVID-19, we want to remind consumers that there is no evidence that COVID-19 has been transmitted by food or food packaging, as well as the importance of taking precautionary food safety steps to protect against foodborne illness pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.

With respect to the safety of food across the U.S., both the USDA and FDA continue to use their respective authorities, including conducting inspections, as appropriate. The agencies also continue to monitor foods for hazards, work with industry on any potential or reported issues in their facilities, and conduct food recalls when appropriate. This applies to both domestically produced food and food that is imported from other countries.

Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, foodborne exposure is not known to be a route of transmission for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

With respect to foodborne pathogens, the CDC, FDA and FSIS continue to work with state and local partners to investigate foodborne illness and outbreaks. During this coronavirus outbreak, we will continue to operate to prepare for, coordinate and carry out response activities to incidents of foodborne illness in both human and animal food.

May 20, 2020 - 2:06pm

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County is pleased to partner with New York State Agriculture and Markets, CY Farms LLC and Genesee County Farm Bureau to provide New York State hand sanitizer at no cost to the Agriculture Community in Genesee County.

A second distribution will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27 at 4592 Barrville Road, Elba. The CY storage facility is near the corner of Bridge Road and Barrville Road.

If you were not able to attend our first distribution, we have a limited amount remaining.

Genesee County production farms of any type are encouraged to participate, along with farm stands, CSAs, greenhouses and u-pick operations. The goal is to support safe and healthy workplace practices to keep our agriculture workforce strong during the coronavirus pandemic.

Farms interested in picking up hand sanitizer should complete the online registration.

Include farm contact information, requested quantity and time slot for pick up (to limit wait times and traffic). We have a limited amount left.  Registration will be open until it is all reserved or until 5 p.m. on May 26.

Supplies are limited. Quantities may be adjusted before pick-up to ensure adequate supplies are available to as many farms as possible. The liquid hand sanitizer is available by the case -- 4 gallons to a case (with a pump). This is a liquid, not a gel.

For ease of use, businesses may decide to purchase small spray bottles for daily use and refill them from the gallon jug. A small number of the 2-ounce bottles will also be available.

The suggested guidelines for each farm are:

  • 1-6 employees: 1 case
  • 7-15 employees: 2 cases
  • 15 plus: 3 – 4 cases

Details for picking up: stay in your vehicle and wait for a staff member to direct you to the pick-up area. Whoever is picking up the sanitizer for your farm will need to wear their own face covering if they get out of the vehicle. Please maintain social distancing when picking up. Staff will need to collect some information from you before you can pick up the sanitizer.

Please note that this is a 75-percent alcohol-based liquid-gel. It is highly flammable. Keep away from heat, hot surfaces, sparks, open flames and other ignition sources. No smoking around it. It is not drinkable.

This program is available only for farm owners to distribute to themselves and their employees. This effort has been made available through NYS Dept. of Ag and Markets as a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic.

Thank you to CY Farms for generously assisting in transporting the hand sanitizer and for providing a distribution spot.

Contact CCE Genesee at 585-343-3040, ext. 101. Please leave a message as staff is working remotely and will not be in the office.

May 19, 2020 - 1:41pm

Press release:

New York Farm Bureau is launching a new system to connect farms in need of labor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time of uncertainty, farms may temporarily be down some employees who may have to quarantine due to the virus or to take care of a sick family member. This could potentially create issues on the farm, especially when livestock need to be cared for or during a critical time of the growing season.

In turn, there is now an online database for farmers to turn to and for people who may be looking for additional, temporary agricultural work, perhaps someone who is in need of employment, may be retired from farm labor, or would like to add additional hours.

Anyone who is interested and willing to work on a farm is encouraged to submit their information to the new database to potentially be matched up with a farm in need in their area. Click here to view the database.

New York Farm Bureau hopes this will serve as a resource for its members to have needed staff on hand throughout this pandemic while also providing an opportunity for job seekers. It will be up to the individual farm to appropriately screen and hire any potential employees.

In addition, New York Farm Bureau is still making its COVID-19 resource page on its website, www.nyfb,org, open to all farms regardless of membership, to provide the latest information and guidance to all of agriculture in these difficult times. 

New York Farm Bureau is encouraging all farms to continue to take this pandemic seriously, follow all of the recommended safety guidance and protocols, and have a plan in place to mitigate the spread, both in the workplace and in farmworker housing should it be provided.

Protecting farmworkers and fellow family members is a priority for the agricultural community.

May 19, 2020 - 12:31pm

Press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today (May 19) announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

“America’s farming community is facing an unprecedented situation as our nation tackles the coronavirus," Secretary Perdue said. "President Trump has authorized USDA to ensure our patriotic farmers, ranchers, and producers are supported and we are moving quickly to open applications to get payments out the door and into the pockets of farmers.

“These payments will help keep farmers afloat while market demand returns as our nation reopens and recovers. America’s farmers are resilient and will get through this challenge just like they always do with faith, hard work, and determination.”

Beginning May 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses. 

Background: 

CFAP provides vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5-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.

Farmers and ranchers will receive direct support, drawn from two possible funding sources. The first source of funding is $9.5 billion in appropriated funding provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act to compensate farmers for losses due to price declines that occurred between mid-January 2020, and mid-April 2020 and provides support for specialty crops for product that had been shipped from the farm between the same time period but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channels. The second funding source uses the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to compensate producers for $6.5 billion in losses due to on-going market disruptions. 

Non-Specialty Crops and Wool

Non-specialty crops eligible for CFAP payments include malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat. Wool is also eligible. Producers will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of Jan. 15, 2020.

A payment will be made based 50-percent of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates.

Livestock

Livestock eligible for CFAP include cattle, lambs, yearlings and hogs. The total payment will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between Jan. 15 and April 15, 2020, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head.

Dairy

For dairy, the total payment will be calculated based on a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of calendar year 2020 multiplied by a national price decline during the same quarter. The second part of the payment is based a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter. 

Specialty Crops

For eligible specialty crops, the total payment will be based on the volume of production sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020; the volume of production shipped, but unpaid; and the number of acres for which harvested production did not leave the farm or mature product destroyed or not harvested during that same time period, and which have not and will not be sold.

Specialty crops include, but are not limited to, almonds, beans, broccoli, sweet corn, lemons, iceberg lettuce, spinach, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. A full list of eligible crops can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. Additional crops may be deemed eligible at a later date.

Eligibility

There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies or limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits where members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions. 

Applying for Assistance

Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28, 2020.

Payment Structure

To ensure the availability of funding throughout the application period, 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 as funds remain available.

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.

May 7, 2020 - 1:57pm

Submitted photo and press release:

The Genesee Country Farmer’s Market @ The Downtown Batavia Public Market opens for the season on Friday, June 5th, at the market's location on the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place in the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District.

Market hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, with the season running from Friday, June 5th, through Friday, Oct. 30th.

In light of the current COVID 19 concerns, the Market will implement enhanced public health guidelines to ensure the safety of Market customers and vendors. Social distancing is encouraged and the vendor stalls will be spaced accordingly. All customers and visitors of the market over the age of 2 years old must be wearing a mask to enter. 

Vendors are excited about the upcoming market season with many of last year's vendors returning, along with some new additions. The market will once again participate in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), DUFB (Double-Up Food Bucks), NYS FreshConnect, WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) and Senior Farmer's Market Check programs. 

The market welcomes the season with a new Market Manager, Wendy Rath (inset photo right). The Genesee Country Farmer’s Market Board of Directors is excited to have her on board and are confident she will be an asset to our vendors and market operations. 

The market is committed to its Mission of "providing a family-friendly environment where the residents of the Greater-Batavia area and Genesee County can shop for fresh, locally grown, produce and specialty artisanal items" -- and its Vision of "making the Genesee Country Farmers' Market @ The Downtown Batavia Public Market a WNY Destination."

Parties interested in joining the market to become a Seasonal Vendor or Day Vendor may contact Sharon Brent at (716) 560-0853 or by email at [email protected], or Wendy Rath at (585) 944-5772or by email at [email protected].

Qualifying charities, service-groups, or 501c3 organizations that would like to participate in the market may obtain a FREE market stall by contacting the market at (585) 944-5772 or by email at [email protected].

May 5, 2020 - 5:46pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement announces that a public teleconference of the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (ACBFR) will be held to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on beginning farmers and ranchers.

The public conference call will be held on May 19 at 2 - 4 p.m. EDT. To listen to the discussion, call toll free 866-816-7252 and use conference ID 6188761.

To share written public comments for the committee’s consideration, email [email protected]. Written comments must be received by May 18. For more information, see the Federal Register Notice.

Authorized by Congress in 1992, the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers advises the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on ways to develop programs to provide coordinated assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers while maximizing new farming and ranching opportunities. The committee also works to enhance and expand federal-state partnerships to provide financing for beginning farmers and ranchers. Learn more about this advisory committee at the OPPE website.

For further information, contact Maria Goldberg, USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, at [email protected] or at (202) 720-6350.

May 4, 2020 - 4:03pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today applauded the announcement that agricultural producers, for the first time, are now eligible for the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. 

“America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers need the same help that other American businesses need during this unprecedented time,” said Secretary Perdue. 

SBA’s EIDL portal has been closed since April 15. However, the Agency is able to reopen the portal today, in a limited capacity, as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act.

The legislation, which was signed into law by the President one week ago, provided additional critical funding for farmers and ranchers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In order to help facilitate this important change to EIDL Loan and EIDL Advance assistance eligibility, SBA is reopening the Loan and Advance application portal to agricultural enterprises only.

For agricultural producers that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for reapplying.

All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted prior to April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

April 30, 2020 - 7:17pm

Press release:

Are you wondering where you can get locally grown vegetables, maple syrup, honey, fruit, or cheese? How about goat milk soap, wine and flowers? Do you want to fill your freezer with locally raised meats?

Check out our updated “The Bounty of Genesee County” guide. Our brochure will give you a glimpse into the diversity of agriculture in Genesee county.

By supporting your farming neighbors and buying local, you keep your dollars circulating in our community. Buying from a local farm also cuts down on the distance your food travels.  Stock up at local farms, farm stands, farm markets and businesses that offer genuine local products.

In its 12th year, the Bounty guide can be found on the Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension website. Printed copies, courtesy of the Genesee County Master Gardeners, will be available at a future date.

If you are a Genesee County farm that sells directly to the public and you would like to add your business to our brochure, please contact Jan Beglinger at:   [email protected]

Visit our website for more information, upcoming events, gardening resources and other tips.

April 30, 2020 - 6:37pm

Press release:

At a time when many Americans are facing unprecedented hardships as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Kirsty Northrop, owner of Lawnel Farms in Piffard, is working to provide nutritious dairy products to those in need.

“With so many members of our community in need of food assistance, I feel passionately that we come together to support our neighbors,” Northrop said. "It is hard for food banks and community organizations to provide dairy in food assistance programs. By bringing together many groups we were able to do just that.”

Currently, some dairy processors have capacity to produce dairy products as a result of surplus milk due to the declines in foodservice. Northrop, through a partnership with her cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, and her alma mater, Cornell University, was able to secure approximately 5,800 half gallons of fluid milk to be distributed throughout Livingston, Wyoming and Genesee counties.

“As a dairy cooperative owned by family farmers across the country, we are dedicated to helping provide nutritious food for family tables,” said Jennifer Huson, senior director Marketing, Council Affairs and Industry Relations for DFA Northeast.

“We are very excited to partner with DFA to produce fluid milk for donations to foodbanks. We have already worked closely with foodbanks in the Ithaca areas to donate products made at the Cornell dairy plant to them” says Professor Martin Wiedmann from Cornell University, who currently helps coordinate activities at the Cornell Dairy plant.

“There are feeding programs throughout Livingston, Wyoming and Genesee counties distributing food to families in need, but unfortunately many of them do not include any dairy,”  Northrop said.

To assist with distribution, Chicago-based Coyote Logistics covered the transportation costs and leveraged their carrier network to move the shipment of packaged milk from Cornell University to various drop-off points throughout Livingston, Wyoming and Genesee counties.

“We are proud to support this cause in order to get dairy products into the hands of those who need them most,” said Jason Knight, sales manager at Coyote Logistics.

Livingston County would like to thank Kirsty Northrop, Dairy Farmers of America, and Cornell University for the wonderful donation of milk to add to our distribution sites.” Angela Ellis, deputy county administrator.

“As a multigenerational farm, our family has always been community conscious and in a time like this, what better time to share a little of what we do with our neighbors and friends.” Northrop said.

April 28, 2020 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Craig Yunker, agriculture, news, live stream, video, coronavirus, covid-19.
Video Sponsor

Interview with Craig Yunker, CEO of CY Farms. We're going to talk about the impact of coronavirus issues on agriculture. We're scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

April 28, 2020 - 11:45am

Press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Monday,  the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), in conjunction with the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), published Frequently Asked Questions for nonprofit organizations seeking to receive food through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

Read more about the Farmers to Families Food Box Program FAQ at the AMS website.

On April 17, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). As part of this announcement Secretary Perdue also created the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

Through this program USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service entities, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products.

The program will begin with the procurement of an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products and $100 million per month in meat products.

Participating distributors and wholesalers will then package a preapproved box of fresh produce, dairy and meat products for delivery to food banks, community and faith-based organizations and other nonprofits serving Americans in need.

Additional information on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program is available on the AMS website.

Additional questions may be submitted to:  [email protected]

April 22, 2020 - 12:45pm

From Senator Charles E. Schumer:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed that as part of his negotiation priorities for the interim emergency bill that passed the Senate yesterday, he has ensured that agricultural enterprises will be added as an eligible recipient for grants of up to $10,000 and low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

This assistance can help cover business expenses, including payroll and other operating expenses.

Schumer has relentlessly advocated for New York’s farms during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, securing more than $9.5 billion in emergency funding in last month’s CARES ACT for the agricultural sector suffering massive financial losses due to reduced demands and supply chain disruptions, and calling on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately release aid to hardest-hit agricultural businesses, 

“Making our hardworking Upstate farmers eligible for this vital federal emergency grant-and-aid program was a huge priority for me and I am proud to have secured them this much-needed and well-deserved access to a program that could be a lifeline in these very difficult times,” Senator Schumer said. “I fought hard because just like any other small business in New York, access to this funding could be a vital lifeline for our farmers during this time of crisis.

"In good times, New York farmers are some of the best in the world and work long hours on tight margins, but in the midst of a global pandemic, they are losing revenue streams, suffering huge financial losses and being forced to discard their products. They need all the help we can offer – and they need it now.”

About 23 percent of New York State’s land area, or almost 7 million acres, is farmland, and with more than 33,000 farms across the state and nearly 700 farmer’s markets, New York’s agricultural sector is one of the hardest-hit industries in the nation. Additionally, 96 percent of farms in the state are family-owned.

Since the March passage of the CARES Act, there has been demand from the agricultural community for the SBA to include agricultural enterprises to the EIDL program. With this fix to the EIDL program, farms and other agricultural enterprises under 500 employees will be eligible to apply for SBA grant and loan disaster assistance.

Schumer added, “the bill originally pushed by Senate Republicans had absolutely no fix for our farmers, nor did it have any money for the entire Emergency Injury Disaster Grant and Loan Program. But we stopped that bill so we could make vital improvements, like making sure our farmers had full access to all key forms of federal aid to get through the tough times.”

Here are the facts:

  • Farmers and other agricultural enterprises are now eligible for the EIDL program.

o   The bill passed in the Senate yesterday adds agricultural enterprises under 500 employees as an eligible recipient for grants of up to $10,000 and low-interest loans through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

o   There has been a demand from the agricultural community for SBA to change its rules so agricultural enterprises would be eligible for the SBA’s EIDL loans and the new EILD grant program, but no such rule change has happened.

o   The interim emergency bill proposed by Democrats called for this key fix to support the nation’s farmers, which would not have happened under the original proposal that would have solely increased in funding for PPP. 

Here's a breakdown of the number of farms in each region of New York:

Region

# of Farms (2017)

Western NY

3,814

Finger Lakes

5,945

Southern Tier

7,028

Central NY

7,537

Capital Region

6,240

Hudson Valley

2,246

NYC

36

Long Island

592

Total

33,438

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