COVID-19 Updates

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COVID-19 Latest

 

 

A Video Message from NYFB’s State Board

The organization’s State Board of Directors has a special message for members who are dealing with the economic fallout and major challenges of the pandemic. Click here to view.

 

 

New York Farm Bureau is evaluating the content of our daily COVID-19 alerts and the new information that is coming in each day. We will be moving to sending out information every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, instead of daily. Of course, if the situation warrants letting you know something sooner, we won’t hesitate to reach out to you any day of the week. We want to make sure each alert is worth your time and full of news that you can use.

 

Please continue to reach out to us if you have questions, comments and suggestions at info@nyfb.org.

 

The Latest from Gov. Cuomo’s Daily Briefing on COVID-19*

  • Total hospitalizations 16,103 as of yesterday
  • Net change in hospitalizations and intubations is down
  • 478 lives lost yesterday (455 in hospitals, 23 in nursing homes)
  • Governor said the state will announce a policy tomorrow that addresses upstate hospitals and elective surgeries. He noted that policy will consider COVID-19 infection rates in that area.
  • Antibody testing begins today
  • Testing is up to the states to administer and coordinate (Which labs will be a part of testing? How many test will be conducted by each lab?)
  • Machines and equipment are received from national manufactures which results in supply chain issues.
  • This issue is about more than funding as there are many material components that are involved.
  • After testing must tackle tracing, which would be a state responsibility.
  • Best way for federal government to help with testing is to remedy supply chain issues.
  • There is not enough testing available to record infection rate by county, additionally, the sample size would be too small for statistics to be meaningful. Regions would be better to examine because of sample size.
  • There will be more testing, but there are concerns over how to reach the volume needed.
  • New York State budget was dependent on what was received from the federal government.
  • Federal government has not funded states to date, including no money to combat funding shortfalls.
  • Governor is renewing bipartisan call for $500 billion in aid to states
  • If state government is excluded again schools, local governments, and hospitals are forecast to be cut by 20% each.
  • Federal funding focuses on small business, financial services, and airlines, but we also need for help for teachers, police officers, and other workers.
  • Funding could support hazard pay for front line workers. Governor says they should receive a 50% bonus, including airline workers.

*Courtesy NY StateWatch

 

Gov. Cuomo has extended the Pause Act to May 15, 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.

 

For the latest number of infection cases, including a breakdown by county, click here.

 

USDA Announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program*

On Friday evening, April 17, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). In response to the COVID-19 national emergency and its impact on agriculture, USDA is providing $19 billion in immediate relief to provide critical support to farmers. CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes two major elements to achieve these goals.

 

1. Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: The program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19. USDA is expediting the rule making process for the direct payment program and expects to get payments out to producers by the end of May or early June. Farmers should maintain and retain any records associated with market and product losses.

 

*It is important to note that USDA has not officially released breakdowns on funding allocations or details on the prices that it will use to determine losses experienced by producers. The following amounts are estimates from several media outlets and Congressional members. Once final numbers are confirmed, NYFB will provide an update to members.

 

USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including:

  • $9.6 billion for the livestock industry
    • $5.1 billion for cattle
    • $2.9 billion for dairy
    • $1.6 billion for hogs
    • $3.9 billion for row crop producers
    • $2.1 billion for specialty crops producers
    • $500 million for others crops (this sector has not been defined yet but could include horticulture, sheep, goats, or other producers who show price damage from the pandemic.

Producers will receive a single payment determined using two calculations:

  • Price losses that occurred January 1-April 15, 2020. Producers will be compensated for 85% of price loss during that period.
  • Second part of the payment will be expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters and will cover 30% of expected losses.

The payment limit is $125,000 per commodity with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. Qualified commodities must have experienced a 5% price decrease between January and April.

 

2. USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has 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. We 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. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits serving Americans in need.

 

On top of these targeted programs USDA will utilize other available funding sources to purchase and distribute food to those in need. Further details regarding eligibility, rates, and other implementation will be released at a later date. A copy of USDA’s press release can be found here. An American Farm Bureau analysis of USDA’s CFAP program can be found here.

 

NYFB Sends Letter Requesting Technical Changes to PPP and EIDL

NYFB sent a letter to members of the New York Congressional delegation requesting additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and technical corrections to make SBA’s PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs more accessible for farmers. A copy of the letter can be found here.

 

NYSDOL Launches Streamlined Application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The New York State Department of Labor today announced the launch of a new application for New Yorkers to apply for traditional Unemployment Insurance or the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This one-stop-shop for unemployment benefits will connect New Yorkers with the benefits they deserve faster, without requiring them to call the Department of Labor.

The updated unemployment benefits application system, available here, will determine which unemployment program — unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance — New Yorkers should apply for and then prompt them to answer a specific set of questions. The application builds on the new online system the department rolled out on Friday, April 10, in partnership with the State Office of Information Technology Services and Google Cloud, to help manage the exponential and unprecedented increase in new claims resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which was included in the Federal CARES Act, provides unemployment benefits for individuals who are ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance. Examples of those covered by PUA include:

  • Self-employed New Yorkers;
  • Independent contractors;
  • New Yorkers who worked for an app-based company (i.e. "gig workers")
  • Farmers;
  • Those diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have COVD-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis;
  • Those living with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Those providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school or another facility due to COVID-19;
  • Those unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine or because they have been advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • Those scheduled to commence new employment that cannot reach their workplace as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Those who became a major breadwinner because the head of their household died from COVID-19;
  • Those who quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Those whose place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Those with insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19;
  • New Yorkers otherwise not qualified for regular or extended UI benefits and affected by COVID-19;

New Yorkers seeking to file an unemployment insurance claim should visit labor.ny.gov or call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 209-8124. A fact sheet on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance can be found here.

 

Commissioner Ball Asks for Additional Support, Assistance for Quarantined Workers in Second Letter to USDA

New York Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Ball sent a second letter to USDA requesting additional support for the New York agriculture industry which has been greatly impacted the Coronavirus pandemic. The letter outlines requests for additional funding to agricultural producers through direct assistance as well as coordination with financial institutions. The letter also addresses assistance for any workers who may need to be quarantined. A copy of the letter can be found here.

 

IRS Provides Way to Expedite Economic Impact Payments

The IRS has announced ways for individuals to provide direct deposit information to expedite receipt of Economic Impact Payments. The CARES Acts provided Economic Impact Payments of up to $1200/individual or $2400/couple plus $500 per child for those who earn less than $ 75,000/individual or $150,000/couple.

 

The IRS announced a portal for tax filers to provide the IRS with bank account information in order to expedite the receipt of Economic Stimulus Payments. The IRS says without direct deposit information, it will take up to five months to receive a payment through the mail. It is not necessary for taxpayers who used direct deposit for their 2018 or 2019 tax filings to provide additional information. The IRS portal for providing direct deposit information can be found here. The IRS also announced a portal for individuals who were not required to file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 to provide direct deposit information. Such individuals who receive Social Security benefits do not need to provide additional information. This IRS portal for providing direct deposit information can be found here.

 

Cornell Ag Workforce and PRO-DAIRY Resources

Please check out the COVID-19 webpage for Cornell CALS’ Agricultural Workforce Development Program. It includes frequent updates on guidance, webinars and human resource info to help your business and employee needs. Click here for more info.

 

PRO-DAIRY also has numerous resources geared towards dairy farms during the pandemic.

 

Examples include:

How to reduce milk output if your handler asks you to do so

Feeding milk to cows

Adding milk to manure storages

Fertilizer value of milk

 

Short Equine Survey Created to Better Understand Economic Impact of COVID-19 in New York State

Cornell Cooperative Extension Equine (CCE Equine) and the New York State Horse Council (NYSHC) have partnered to create a survey to better understand the economic impact of COVID-19 on equine-related businesses in New York State. This survey is targeted to equine-related business owners or business managers in New York State. If you own or manage a business that supports the equine industry, please take the time to complete this short survey. Survey responses will remain anonymous and the data received will be used by CCE Equine and the NYSHC to guide future programs, decisions, and research with public partners. Click here to take the survey. For any questions, contact Brieanna Hughes, CCE Equine Program Coordinator at Bh548@cornell.edu or Sarah E.J. Collier, NYSHC Recording Secretary, at sarah.collier@nyshc.org.

 

NY FarmNet Webinar: Stress Management, Resiliency Building and Mental Health Awareness

Stress is inevitable - it's how you respond to and manage the cause, or stressor, that can make a difference in your daily life. Whether the stressor is a medical diagnosis, low milk and commodity prices, weather that impedes crop production, or tensions within the family, there are tools we can use to help manage our emotions during challenging times.

 

Join Kate Downes and Brenda O’Brien of NY FarmNet on April 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a free Zoom webinar as they discuss managing stress and the impact it can have on mental health, building resiliency, suicide prevention, and the importance of breaking down the stigma related to these topics.

 

To register, please click here.

 

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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.

FarmNet
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

 

 

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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.

 

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  • 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.