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*
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.
- Newly hospitalized three-day rate is down.
- Total hospitalization numbers reflect a projected plateau.
- Daily intubations and daily discharged are trending down.
- Trends reflect social distancing adherence. Continuation dependent upon continued adherence. Numbers would increase, otherwise.
- USNS Comfort will now be a 500 bed COVID-19 facility.
- NYC's Javits Convention Center and USNS Comfort are providing an additional 3,000 beds for COVID-19 patients.
- Governors are working on a tri-state cooperative (NY, NJ, CT).
- Schools, healthcare, economy are points of discussion and cooperation.
- Regional approach to planning a return to work, life and economy.
- Governor reiterates his opinion that testing is the key.
- Department of Health approved antibody testing, awaiting FDA approval to be brought to scale.
- Rapid testing now exists (less than 15 minutes), but it is not yet brought to scale. Region interested in working with private companies to bring rapid testing to scale.
- Federal assistance required, according to Governor, with focus on state and local governments to pad out revenue shortfalls.
- Governor sending letter to NY Congressional delegation bringing focus on government needs.
*Courtesy NY StateWatch
For the latest number of infection cases, including a breakdown by county, click here.
Agriculture Chair Lupardo sends letter to Gov. Cuomo regarding
"non-essential" designation for horticulture industry
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair, Donna Lupardo, shared a letter that she recently penned to Gov. Cuomo regarding her concerns about the horticultural industry with regard to the Governor’s designation of the industry as “non-essential.” In the letter, Assemblywoman Lupardo writes to the Governor, “On behalf of this industry, I am requesting a waiver be granted to all businesses propagating, maintaining, and caring for our green spaces. Horticulture businesses are preparing for the new season and some are already planting. Agriculture in New York State is very dependent on the weather and any delay at this time could significantly impact the ability of these businesses to produce a crop this year if not given an exemption.” The full letter can be read here.
Empire State Development Frequently Asked Questions
Empire State Development has issued a FAQ on commonly asked questions that they are receiving. Of interest is question number 11 regarding businesses doing business for “essential businesses.” The document can be found here.
NYFB Sends Letter to USDA Requesting Assistance for Farmers
NYFB recently sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue outlining the needs of the New York agriculture industry as a result of COVID-19. New York’s agriculture industry has been greatly impacted with a loss of market and revenue stream for many producers, and it is important that USDA provides support to those products by using funds allocated by the CARES Act.
The letter from President Fisher reads in part, “While no one could have predicted the extent of this virus on the country or its food supply, the impacts have been real and unprecedented for America’s farmers, including those in New York. Not only have farmers experienced the loss of markets, dumping of products, and labor disruptions, also there remains uncertainty of when they may see any type of recovery.”
In addition to direct payments, some additional requests include:
- USDA should immediately make purchases of dairy products including but not limited to fluid milk, butter, cheeses and dry milk powders. Additional support could be provided through export assistance programs and direct commodity support.
- The creation of a voucher program for people in need through the Milk Donation Program, as authorized under the 2018 Farm Bill, to facilitate the distribution of donated milk through grocery stores and other venues since some food banks and food pantries often do not have enough cold storage to accept large quantities of highly perishable products.
- With the steep decline in purchases in the food service sector, USDA should consider developing a purchase program that would quickly provide stability to all impacted fresh produce growers through the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Provisions should be made for livestock, equine, horticulture, craft distilleries, maple producers and more who are facing closures and a significant loss of business.
Follow this link to read the full letter and requests made by NYFB to assist farmers across the state.
ProDairy Offers Podcast Explaining Current Milk Crisis
Many dairy farmers have been frustrated regarding recent milk shortages in some stores while milk is being dumped. This is compounded by a significant drop in milk price at the farm level. ProDairy is offering a podcast that explains this unusual turn events with interviews with Andrew M. Novaković, PhD, E.V. Baker Professor of Agricultural Economics Emeritus and Chris Wolf, PhD, Applied Economics and Policy. The podcast can be found here.
Finding a Lender for the PPP
If you need assistance finding a lender for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Small Business Administration (SBA) has a tool that allows individuals to find potential lenders near them that can assist with PPP applications. The “Find a lender” tool can be found here.
COVID-19 Guidance from NYSDAM
In an effort to keep the agricultural industry informed on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, New York State Department of Agriculture (NYSDAM) and Markets has provided additional details and guidance on its website at agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus. NYSDAM has also published a general resource guide for the agricultural community.
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.