COVID-19 Updates

header image

COVID-19 Latest

 

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

  • Hospitalizations are down.
  • The number of new cases per day is down.
  • 112 lives lost yesterday: 82 in hospitals, 30 in nursing homes.

Reopening/Testing

  • Religious gatherings of no more than 10 will be allowed starting tomorrow.
  • Drive-in religious services will be available as well.
  • The state will convene the Interfaith Advisory Council to discuss proposals to bring back religious services.
  • Governor stressed that our actions today would determine the numbers two weeks from now.
  • Governor reiterated the importance of wearing a mask.
  • New York State’s goal is to test every person in the state and have begun to test grocery and pharmacy workers.
  • New York is up to 40,000 tests per day.
  • Finger Lakes and Central NY regions have seen upticks in cases, but nothing significant yet.

*Courtesy of Statewatch

 

  • Click here to see all four phases of projected industry reopening including the guidelines for non-food related agriculture. This website also has information on how to file a complaint to assist local authorities with enforcement of Executive Orders and restrictions on business operations and activities, as well as gatherings.
  • 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.
  • Click here to see the list of members in each regional control room.

 

Reminder for Equine Farms and other Agricultural Businesses

A region must meet the criteria to reopen and start Phase 1 reopening before horse riding lessons can happen on equine farms. Once a region meets the criteria to reopen, Phase 1 businesses are eligible to reopen while following the Interim Guidance for Non-Food Related Agriculture Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which is applicable to the following activities including, but not limited to: greenhouses, nurseries, sod farms, equine operations, forestry and tree farms, companion animal services and local agricultural demonstrations and exhibitions.

 

Also, each business must develop a written safety plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. This also includes businesses that have been deemed essential. A business may fill out this template to fulfill the requirement or may develop its own safety plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval, but must be retained on the premises of the business and must be made available to the New York State Department of Health or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection. Click here for a sample safety plan.

 

Pesticide Applicator Certifications

New York Farm Bureau has sent a letter to the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on the need for regulatory flexibility for pesticide applicators. The COVID-19 pandemic caused testing for applicators to be canceled, leaving a shortage of certified applicators. We are rapidly reaching peak season, making it more important for guidance to be established for those with some applicator experience to be able to operate. Beginning testing now is no longer an option due to the start of the farming season, and regulatory flexibility is critical for our food supply. To view this letter, click here.

 

Reviewing Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Details for Direct Assistance to Farmers

Yesterday, the USDA announced the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning May 26, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered five-percent-or-greater price losses or significant market losses due to COVID-19. Full program details for CFAP can be found here.

 

The American Farm Bureau Federation has put together an initial review of the program and what it might mean for producers across the country and those in New York. Below is an excerpt from the article.

 

Dairy

Dairy producers are eligible for a CFAP payment if milk production occurred in January 2020, February 2020 and/or March 2020. Any dumped milk production during those months qualifies for assistance. A single payment is available for dairy producers based on a producer’s certification of milk production for the first quarter of the calendar year 2020 multiplied by $4.71 per hundredweight. The second part of the payment is based on a national adjustment to each producer’s production in the first quarter, e.g., 1.014 multiplied by $1.47 per hundredweight. Effectively, the payment rate is $6.20 per hundredweight on milk produced in the first quarter. According to USDA’s website, any milk production that is not subject to price risk for any time during January, February and/or March is ineligible. An analysis by Christopher Wolf, Mark Stephenson and Andrew Novakovic, of Cornell University, can be found here.

 

Specialty Crops

Specialty crop producers are eligible for CFAP payments if they: (1) had crops that suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) had produce shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel; and (3) had shipments that did not leave the farm or mature crops that remained unharvested.

 

Depending on the crop and loss type, payment rates range from one-cent per pound for crops like dry onions, cabbage, celery and potatoes, to $1.45 per pound for raspberries. For more information, consult the CFAP Payments for Specialty Crops page provided by USDA to determine each eligible specialty crop and qualified loss type payment rate.

 

Livestock

Livestock producers are eligible for a CFAP payment if they have an ownership interest in cattle, hogs and sheep with a five-percent-or-greater price decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and face significant costs in marketing their inventories due to unexpected surplus and disrupted markets between mid-January and mid-April 2020. Producers of eligible livestock, i.e., cattle, hogs and sheep, will receive a single payment for livestock that will be calculated using the sum of the producer’s number of livestock sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020, multiplied by the payment rates per head, and the highest inventory number of livestock between April 16 and May 14, 2020, multiplied by the payment rate per head. It’s important to note that USDA has indicated that cull dairy cows are ineligible for livestock programs.

 

Non-Specialty Crops

For non-specialty crops, e.g., malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat and hard red spring wheat, payments will be coupled to actual 2019 production and will be paid based on inventory subject to price risk held as of January 15, 2020. A single payment will be made based on 50 percent of a producer’s 2019 total production or the 2019 inventory as of January 15, 2020, whichever is smaller, multiplied by 50 percent and then multiplied by the commodity’s applicable payment rates. The payment formula equals: min[50%×2019 Production, Jan. 15 Inventory]×50%×[CARES Payment Rate + CCC Payment Rate]

 

Applying for Assistance

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found here.

 

A full copy of AFBF’s article can be found 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

___________________________________________________________________________