The Latest from Gov. Cuomo’s Daily Briefings on COVID-19*
- The North Country has now met the metrics to begin reopening along with Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier regions
- Reopening efforts will be controlled by monitoring diagnostic testing, antibody testing, hospitalization rate and capacity, and infection rate.
- Regional control group should manage, monitor, and ensure compliance with safety precautions.
- Elective surgeries to continue in 12 more counties: Albany, Cayuga, Chemung, Columbia, Clinton, Cortland, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Warren.
- Hospitalizations and intubations are down.
- New COVID Cases is 416 as of yesterday, up from 401 May 11
- 166 deaths (122 in hospitals, 44 in nursing homes).
- Governor says, "We're just about where we are when we started this painful situation.
Children and COVID-19:
- DOH is investigating 102 cases of what may be rare COVID- related illness in children with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic shock like syndrome.
- The Illness has taken lives of a five year-old boy, seven year-old boy, and 18 year-old girl.
- 60% of children with symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 and 40% tested positive for the antibodies (14% positive for both). 71% of cases end up in ICU.
- Parents who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have reason to believe their child has been exposed should take heightened precautions and seek medical attention
- Hospitals have been directed by DOH to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children presenting symptoms.
- Governor says NYS needs federal help, with a significant funding gap of $61 billion.
- Funding is necessary for essential workers, state testing and tracing, public infrastructures as economic stimulus.
*Courtesy of Statewatch
- Click here to see all four phases of projected industry reopening.
- Click here to view a Regional Monitoring Dashboard to see where each region stands.
- Click here to see the frequently asked questions (FAQ) on New York Forward and the contact information for your regional control center.
The Pause Act is scheduled to go 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.
NYFB Farm Relief Workers Database
During this time of uncertainty, we understand that our farms may temporarily lose some employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic as they may have to quarantine and convalesce. If you are in need of relief workers on your farm, NYFB is launching a database of willing potential employees. We strongly encourage that the individual farm vet and screen these applicants for needed qualifications. We hope that this database could serve as a resource to allow your farm to have the appropriate needed staff on hand throughout this pandemic. Click here to view the database. Please note that this resource was just launched, and it may take time for potential relief workers to be added to the database.
In addition, we have transitioned our COVID-19 resource page on our website to make it easier for you to find guidance and information. Click here to find separate pages for general resources and info, farm labor, financial assistance and insurance, and educational programming. You can continue to find our daily alerts on our news page: https://www.nyfb.org/news
USDA to Host Webinar for Producers Interested in Applying for Direct Payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) will host a webinar on Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 1:00 pm ET, for farmers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
USDA will provide $16 billion in direct support based on losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted. Also, USDA will assist eligible producers facing additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19. USDA is hosting this webinar to share what information is needed to apply for direct payments through CFAP, once the application period begins. The webinar is an opportunity for producers to learn about the general application process and required documentation prior to the official beginning of signup. Producers who are new to participating in FSA programs are especially encouraged to join the webinar.
Producers interested in participating may register in advance by clicking here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Participants are encouraged to submit questions through the Q&A box or by emailing CFAP.email@example.com. While questions will not be answered live during the webinar, they will be posted at farmers.gov/CFAP along with a recording of the webinar and other CFAP information. More details about CFAP direct payments will be announced soon.
How to Apply for CFAP
USDA will soon begin taking applications for CFAP. As part of applying for the program, farmers will need to contact the local Farm Service Agency county office to schedule an appointment. Local FSA staff will work with farmers to apply for the program, and through forms that will ask for this type of information: Contact; Personal including your Tax Identification Number; Farming operating structure; Adjusted Gross Income to ensure eligibility; Direct deposit to enable payment processing. Do not send any personal information to USDA without first initiating contact through a phone call.
In addition to the application form, FSA staff will work with farmers to complete portions of the CCC-902 – Farm Operating Plan – if necessary. Additionally, the following forms will be needed for CFAP. If farmers are an existing customer, this information is likely on file at the local Service Center.
- CCC-901 – Identifies members of a farm or ranch that is a legal entity. Member Information will be completed by legal entities and joint operations to collect the following:
- member names, addresses, and Tax Identification Numbers
- citizenship status
- CCC-941 – Reports your average adjusted gross income for programs where income restrictions apply.
- CCC-942 – If applicable, this certification reports income from farming, ranching and forestry for those exceeding the adjusted gross income limitation.
- AD-1026 – Ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed, identified wetland areas are protected, and conservation compliance provisions are met.
- AD-2047 – Provides basic customer contact information.
- SF-3881 – Collects your banking information to allow USDA to make payments to you via direct deposit.
While the application process has not started, farmers can start gathering/understanding their farm’s recent sales and inventory. 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. USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only. Once the application period opens, please call the FSA county office to schedule an appointment. FSA staff are working with agricultural producers by phone and using email, fax, mail, and online tools like Box to accept applications. To find your office use the service locator here.
CCE Factsheet on PPP and EIDL for Agricultural Producers
Cornell Cooperative Extension has created a factsheet with the latest update on the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and opportunities for farms. The factsheet contains information regarding recent interpretation and guidance that the Small Business Administration has released in regards to both programs and how those impact farmers applying for the program. A copy of the factsheet can be found here.
Federal CARES-2 Legislation: Vote Expected Friday, May 15
Send an e-lobby letter to your Congressional member today!
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt an enormous blow to farmers across the state. In nearly every sector – dairy, livestock, produce, horticulture – producers have seen their markets shrink overnight or even disappear, while supply chains have been stretched to the limit in response to this emergency. The federal response to COVID-19 will require ongoing action to adequately address the needs of millions of Americans in crisis. Farmers must not be left out.
Right now, Congress is working on the second “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act,” also known as the CARES-2 ACT. This emergency legislation is needed to help New York’s farmers, and farmers are encouraged to send a letter to their Congressional member by clicking here.
Webinar: Best Management Practices for COVID-19 Safety in Greenhouses and Nurseries
As New York State municipalities and businesses start to consider reopening, greenhouse and nursery operations and retail greenhouses need to create plans to fulfill the requirements of safe operation to protect themselves, their employees and their customers. This webinar will address employee training and standard operating procedures, best management practices for farmworker health, housing, and transportation, implementing best management practices including social distancing and sanitation, and NYS/Cornell resources to reduce COVID-19 risks.
Date/time: Thursday May 14, 2-3 p.m. via Zoom
The format will include short presentations by speakers followed by time for Q&A.
- Richard Stup, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Specialist
- Mary Jo Dudley, director of Cornell Farmworker Program
- Jon Greenberg, director, Division of Food Safety and Inspection, NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets
- Betsy Bihn, Cornell Food Science, director of Produce Safety Alliance
For more information on participating in this webinar, click here.
Richard Stup: Farm Leadership Must Persevere to Victory
“Never give in. Never, never, never.” – Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1940-1945 (Listen to the whole speech here)
On Oct. 29, 1941, Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and the Netherlands had all fallen to the Nazis under the terrifying leadership of Adolph Hitler. The United States would not enter World War II until December of 1941, and so, Great Britain stood alone in the West, resisting the Nazi onslaught against the free world and resolving to fight on. The leadership of Winston Churchill was instrumental in preserving and strengthening the will of the British people to fight through those dark days and survive against what seemed insurmountable odds.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been likened to a war. The enemy is the novel coronavirus and it is a powerful, deceptive, and patient foe. We know how to fight it, we must deprive it of opportunities to spread and infect more victims. The CDC , the NY Department of Health, Cornell, and others have given us the training we need. NYS Ag and Markets and Cornell Cooperative Extension are distributing weapons across the state in the form of hand sanitizer and face coverings for the agricultural workforce. But, like WWII, this fight against COVID-19 will require leadership to help our people stay the course and fight on with perseverance and faith in our eventual victory.
Now is not the time to relax or let up in our efforts to combat COVID-19. While the rate of infection is declining overall in New York the virus is advancing in rural communities, including a recent attack at a large, upstate greenhouse. As I write this post, New York is making plans for a phased re-opening of business and the seasonal agricultural workforce is increasing in number to meet the needs of the vegetable and fruit growing season, conditions are ripe for coronavirus to spread in the farm workforce. Now is the time for farm managers to step up to leadership with gritty resolve and perseverance. “Never give in. Never, never, never.” as Mr. Churchill put it.
Perseverance in the war against COVID-19 means farm managers must:
1.) Lead your team and reinforce the need to be vigilant and keep up good sanitation and social distancing practices. Communicate and re-communicate the value of prevention. People are growing tired of these burdensome new activities but leaders need to rally the troops for the good of everyone!
2.) Provide the needed tools. Face coverings, cleaning solutions, brushes, buckets, mops, hand sanitizers, are the tools needed for this fight. Businesses need to provide these for employees to use in the workplace and at farm-provided housing facilities.
3.) Develop the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for preventing COVID-19. Build simple and repeatable instructions to ensure that needed procedures are done right consistently. Link to CDC and OSHA recommendations for business.
4.) Train employees in how to use SOP’s and tools. For permanent employees, now is the time to provide some re-training to reinforce what they learned already and eliminate any confusion or procedural drift. Our seasonal employees continue to arrive, this means that farm managers will have to train and re-train repeatedly as new recruits arrive at the farm. Make training for COVID-19 prevention tasks part of your employee onboarding and a key part of a manager’s job.
5.) Assign cleaning details. Volunteerism is great but the fight against COVID-19 is too important to not lead assertively. Use your leadership authority and assign important tasks to individuals as part of their work. Assign cleaning in farm-provided housing also.
6.) Manage for compliance with measurement, feedback and reinforcement. COVID-19 prevention tasks like cleaning and wearing face coverings are critical and it’s up to managers to see that they happen. Use tools like checklists and sign-off sheets for employees to indicate when tasks are completed, and spend time in the workplace observing the work being done. Give feedback, positive and re-directive as needed, to encourage employees and keep everyone on track.
And finally, leaders must model the behaviors they want in their followers. If you, as a farm manager, take shortcuts or flout the COVID-19 prevention rules, then your employees will surely do the same, and the enemy will find an opportunity. Your actions speak louder than your words so model the grit, determination, and most of all, perseverance, that it will take for us to “win through to absolute victory” over COVID-19.
Richard Stup is an Agricultural Workforce Specialist at Cornell University.
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
- 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.
- COVID-19 Guidance from NYSDAM is available on its website. The department has also published a general resource guide for the agricultural community.