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 Governor Cuomo’s Daily Briefing on COVID-19
Gov. Cuomo extended the Pause Act to April 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:
- NYC’s Javits Center is operational and will receive non-COVID-19 patients starting today.
- USNS Comfort medical ship arrived in NYC to see spillover non-COVID-19 patients as well, freeing up space in NYC hospitals
- Governor again calling for public responsibility:
- Stay Home
- No proximity to each other
- No density gatherings
- He is calling to share healthcare professionals among the states, and within New York State, who are currently not burdened by heavy patient load. "Come help us, please... We will return the favor."
- NYS is still actively engaged in preparing equipment stockpiles for the apex of illness cases.
- Governor met with leaders of entire statewide healthcare establishment to develop a comprehensive cooperative plan between all hospitals within the state. He said the meeting went well.
- Gov. Cuomo says this is no time to play politics. "We are all red, white and blue and should not be playing partisanship."
The upcoming April 15 tax deadline has been extended by three months, according to Gov. Cuomo’s executive order. Its aim is to provide relief from certain tax filing and payment deadlines. The deadline has been pushed back to July 15, 2020, for New York State personal income tax and corporation tax returns originally due on April 15, 2020. The Tax Commissioner is allowing taxpayers to defer all related tax payments to July 15, 2020 as well, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. Click here for more information and guidance from NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.
For the latest number of infection cases, including a breakdown by county, click here.
State Budget Still Being Negotiated
State budget negotiations are ongoing with an eye towards the April 1 Constitutional deadline and it looks like the agricultural portion of the budget has been finalized. From anecdotal details that NYFB’s Public Policy staff is receiving, there will be budget cuts to farm programs in response to the $15 billion budget deficit facing New York State by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing state-mandated business closures and extension of tax filing deadline. As details about the budget become available, New York Farm Bureau will share them promptly with membership.
Farms Exempt from Non-Essential Construction Ban
New York Farm Bureau gained clarification from the Governor’s office and the Department of Agriculture and Markets over the weekend that the Governor’s Executive Order 202.6 continues to exempt food processing (including but not limited those supplying goods and services to this industry such as agricultural operations, agribusinesses, etc.) from all restrictions imposed by emergency executive orders issued as a result of this emergency. This includes construction of new farm buildings as long as they are used for any type of food production.
Farmworker COVID-19 Resources
Farmworkers are integral to getting food from the farm to the table. It's critical that every farm stay safe and healthy by following these important tips. It is important to speak with your employees, provide information and see if they need any assistance obtaining food, cleaning products or medical care. Cornell Cooperative Extension’s South Central NY Dairy and Field Crops Team pulled together resources to help. Click here for seven steps to protect your employees.
COVID-19 Health Coverage for Undocumented Workers
According to a guidance released by The New York State Department of Health, the state will treat all COVID-19-related health services under Medicaid. Accordingly, these expenses will be reimbursed by Medicaid for undocumented New Yorkers.
Medicaid coverage for undocumented immigrants is limited to emergency services only. COVID- 19 lab testing, evaluation, and treatment are emergency services and will be reimbursed by NYS Medicaid for individuals with coverage code “07.” Claims submitted for COVID-19 tests and practitioner. The entire document can be found by clicking here.
Federal Coronavirus Paid Leave – Required Posters
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance explaining paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. A copy of the guidance can be found here. In addition, USDOL has also issued the official workplace posters that employers are required to post to inform employees of these benefits. A copy of the poster can be found here and a copy of the poster in Spanish can be found here. Posters must be displayed in a conspicuous place. If the workplace is closed, employers must still get them to staff and may email them to staff. NYFB’s factsheet on the federal paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave can be found here.
COVID-19 and Your Produce Farm Webinar
Cornell CALS Ag. Workforce Development Specialist, Dr. Richard Stup, and Elizabeth Bihn, PhD, Director of Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell, will host an April 3 webinar and provide steps that produce farm managers and individuals working with fruit and vegetable farms should consider to protect their workforce, their business, and their markets.
USDA-FSA Announces Loan Flexibility
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that they are relaxing the loan making process while also providing other loan flexibilities.
FSA is relaxing the loan-making process, including:
- Extending the deadline for applicants to complete farm loan applications;
- Preparing Direct Loans documents even if FSA is unable to complete lien and record searches because of closed government buildings. Once those searches are complete, FSA would close the loan; and
- Closing loans if the required lien position on the primary security is perfected, even for loans that require additional security and those lien searches, filings and recordings cannot be obtained because of closed government buildings.
FSA is extending deadlines for producers to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers. FSA will temporarily suspend loan accelerations, non-judicial foreclosures, and referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will make the determination whether to stop foreclosures and evictions on accounts under its jurisdiction. Further information regarding FSA’s loan flexibility can be found here.
USDA Adds Flexibility for Crop Insurance
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is authorizing additional flexibility due to coronavirus state of emergency. Working through Approved Insurance Providers, RMA is ensuring that crop insurance will be delivered. RMA is providing support to producers working through Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to deliver services, including processing policies, claims and agreements. These flexibility include enabling producers to send notifications and reports electronically; extending the date for production reports and providing additional time and deferring interest on premium and other payments. Further information regarding ths flexibility can be found here.
Consider Donating PPEs to Area Hospitals
Farm Bureau members across the country are donating personal protection equipment (PPE), like protective N95 respirator masks, surgical masks and gloves, that they are not using or won't need on their farms. This may assist your area hospitals in addressing potential supply shortages during the pandemic.
Social Media Requests
New York Farm Bureau is looking to share more positive stories on social media about what is happening on your farm. Show us preparations and fieldwork for spring planting. We’d love to see how the greenhouses are looking. What are you doing to promote safe and healthy working conditions for your employees? Share a story with consumers as you talk to the camera. Please send videos and pictures to Steve Ammerman, NYFB’s public affairs manager at email@example.com and help us spread the message that New York agriculture is #StillFarming.
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.
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.