New York Farm Bureau will be sending daily alerts at this time to keep you up to date on the latest COVID-19 news that may affect you, your farm family and employees. We know things are constantly changing, but we will do our best to keep you informed, offer guidance and share ways you may be able to help. We will do this for as long as it is necessary. NYFB is a community, and we are all in this together.
The Latest from Gov. Cuomo’s Daily Briefing on COVID-19*
- The curve continues to flatten. We are seeing a plateau, unsure of how long this apex will last. The Governor says the curve is still going up a little bit, but is overall flat.
- Net downturn in hospitalizations, the three-day rolling average is also down, net change in ICU admissions down as well.
- Net change in intubations three-day rolling average is down, stabilization in spread, have been reacting to clusters.
- New COVID hospitalizations per day is down. The Governor clarified that though hospitals see about 2,000 new cases per day, many are discharged as well.
- The Governor wants to ease isolation, increase economic activity, re-calibrate essential worker economy, apply more testing and precautions, and to keep infection rate low.
- Governor says we need to watch the infection rate throughout reopening. "It's a delicate balance," he explained.
- Governor has been talking with RI, CT, NJ, DE, and PA on working together for reopening plan. Announcement will be made in the next day.
- The Governor says that there will be no short-term point to declare as the end, but there will be points of resolution over time. These will be incremental and based on control of spread of infection.
- Hopefully, within 12-18 months a vaccine will be produced.
- The Governor reiterated that though the worst is currently behind us, people must continue distancing protocols to avoid a second wave of infection. He explained that facts will continue unbiased.
- Reopening: Wants to learn from countries currently undergoing reopening procedures to see what works and what doesn't to avoid a second wave. Says actions will be based on public health and economic experts' recommendations and data.
- Unemployment: The new platform was said to be working "much better," with 200,000 calls being made since Friday morning.
*Courtesy NY StateWatch
Gov. Cuomo has extended the Pause Act to April 29, which mandates non-essential workers to work from home and a six-foot social distancing space be observed in public places. Click here for more information.
For the latest number of infection cases, including a breakdown by county, click here.
NYFB to host COVID-19 Town Hall this Wednesday
Please join us at 7 p.m. this Wednesday, April 15 for a town hall Zoom event on the pandemic. It will be an opportunity to get your questions answered from leading officials and organizations that are assisting in the response efforts. Participating in the call are:
- NYFB President David Fisher
- NYSDAM Commissioner Richard Ball
- AFBF Executive Vice President Dale Moore
- Cornell CALS Agriculture Workforce Specialist Dr. Richard Stup
- NY FarmNet's Outreach Director Kate Downes
If you have a question for one of the panelists, please email it to email@example.com. Questions must be submitted to NYFB in order to be considered.
The event is limited to the first 500 participants, but it will be recorded for future viewing. Meeting will be audio only.
Joint Letter To USDA From New York and Pennsylvania Agricultural Commissioners Supports Dairy Farmers
New York Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball and Pennsylvania Agriculture Commissioner Russel Redding submit a joint letter to USDA Secretary Purdue requesting immediate action by USDA to use federal funds allocated in the CARES Act to assist dairy industries affected by COVID-19.
The asks include direct payments to dairy producers, immediate activation of a milk loss and block-grant program, reopening the enrollment period for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program and the creating on a dairy organic margin program. Also included in the letter is a request to purchases through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and other available sources, requesting a prioritization of Northeast state processors, authorizing states to help distribute these products, flexibility in packaging, among others. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Send an E-Lobby Letter to USDA and New York Congressional Members Requesting Assistance for Farmers
As the impact of the Coronavirus continues to impact New York farmers across all commodities, NYFB encourages farmers to send a letter to USDA and their congressional members outlining the needs of the New York agriculture industry. New York’s agricultural industry has been greatly impacted with a loss of market and revenue stream for many producers, and it is important that USDA provide support to those products by using funds allocated by the CARES Act. It is also important that New York’s congressional members hear from you regarding the impact of COVID-19 on your operation and the need for additional legislative assistance for farmers. Click here to send a letter.
Cornell Offering Spanish-Language Training, Q & A for Farmworkers and Farmers on COVID-19
The Cornell Farmworker Program and the Finger Lakes Community Health Clinic will be hosting a webinar and Q & A, in Spanish, for farmworkers and farmers.
Dr. José Canario, Medical Director of Finger Lakes Community Health will discuss the coronavirus, what it is, how to protect oneself, and what one should do now. He will also respond to questions submitted in advance. Mary Jo Dudley with the Cornell Farmworker Program will moderate the session. For more information: contact Mary Jo at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone 607-342-0634.
Farm employers are encouraged to share this with Spanish-speaking employees and consider hosting a farm meeting since this will be broadcasted via Zoom. Join the webinar on Monday, April 13, at 6:30 p.m. Register now and submit questions.
Gov. Cuomo Releases Executive Order on Face Masks for Essential Employees
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Cuomo released an executive order today directing employers to provide essential workers with cloth or surgical masks free of charge to wear when directly interacting with the public. You can read more about the executive order here. While farm workers do not come into contact with the general public often on our farms, masks are a safety mechanism to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among farm staff and essential consultants that are on the farm.
You can access the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation regarding the use of cloth face coverings and instructional video how to make them on their website here.
Farmers and Ranchers Ready to Meet Increased Food Bank Needs
As food banks struggle to keep up with dramatic increases in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers and ranchers are eager to work with the Agriculture Department to bridge the supply gap and get farm products to those in need, according to a letter from the American Farm Bureau Federation and Feeding America. The organizations praised USDA’s leadership through this crisis and offered recommendations for additional steps to ensure food banks across the U.S. are stocked, which would allow farmers and ranchers to expand on existing partnerships with food banks and respond to shifting demands and pressing needs. While demand has increased across the supply chain and store shelves have emptied from panic buying, food banks are seeing as much as a 100% increase in demand. According to AFBF and Feeding America’s proposal, this demand can be met by redirecting supply from farmers and ranchers who have lost other markets, such as restaurants and tourism businesses due to closures and stay-at-home orders, by implementing a USDA-run voucher system. This plan would allow farmers and ranchers to work directly with food banks to get farm-fresh products quickly to families in need, while also preventing food waste and helping farmers recoup some of their production costs at a time when they are fighting to hold on. View the letter here.
Cornell Offers Food Industry Virtual Office Hours to Answer
COVID-19 Questions From Industry Experts
Another session of Food Industry Virtual Office Hours will be held on Tuesday, April 14 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. These sessions offer an opportunity to speak directly to Cornell University Food Safety Experts in dairy, fresh produce, and processed foods and beverages. Our food safety experts will answer your questions on COVID-19 and its impact on the food industry. Dr. Kalmia Kniel, a virologist from the University of Delaware, and Dr. Tatiana Lorca, RD&E Food Safety & Quality Program Leader at Ecolab, Inc. will join our subject matter experts from Cornell to provide additional expertise on viruses as well as sanitation. For more information, including Zoom meeting details, click here.
NY FarmNet is Open
Please keep these numbers and websites available to call or share should you, a family member or friends need someone to speak with in these uncertain times.
Support is available at 1-800-547-3276 and www.nyfarmnet.org
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 (TALK), www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Crisis Text Line
Text “GOT 5” to 741-741, www.crisistextline.org
If you have concerns about how COVID-19 will affect your agricultural operation, please give New York Farm Bureau a call at 518-436-8495. We can only help those who ask. Who knows, maybe your question will cause us to get ahead of a problem instead of reacting to it after it has become a problem.
- For previous NYFB COVID-19 alerts and the latest info, click here.
- Click here for the latest information from New York State on COVID-19.
- The CDC has created a website for the latest news on the virus.
Click here to access it.
- COVID-19 Guidance from NYSDAM is available on its website. The department has also published a general resource guide for the agricultural community.