COVID-19 News and Resources

Quick Links: Stay at Home Order | Farmers’ Markets | CSAs | Farm Labor | Legal | Online Sales | Financial | Policy | Health | Consumer | USDA | OSU | Other

The national COVID-19 emergency is having deep impacts on our farming community, and we are working on ways to help. Please watch this page for information and resources that can help farmers, farmers markets, food and farm workers, and consumers navigate this unprecedented challenge.

OEFFA Operations and Certification Services

OEFFA remains open for business, albeit with some changes. For the foreseeable future, all events, including the annual Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, have been cancelled or moved online.

We are responding to emails, receiving your 2020 applications for certification, and maintaining other functions. We are working to develop a contingency plan for organic inspections during a pandemic.

Direct calls regarding Certification to (614) 262-2022. All other calls should go to (614) 421-2022. If you are calling an individual staff member, you can find their direct line in our staff directory here.

For a more detailed update on OEFFA’s operations and certification services, read this announcement from March 23, 2020.

USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Now through December 11, 2020 the USDA is accepting applications for a second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funding, which will provide $14 billion in financial assistance to impacted farmers growing non-specialty and specialty crops, livestock, dairy, eggs, aquaculture, nursery crops, and cut flowers.

FSA Expands Set-Aside Loan Provision for Customers Impacted by COVID-19

As of May 21st, If you have an FSA loan and have seen your farm negatively affected by COVID-19 you can request to have your next loan payment set-aside. For more details, please read the FSA’s press release and contact your local FSA county office.

Apply for Farm Disaster Assistance

Small farms can apply for another set of federal disaster loans under a new deal reached April 21. The agreement allows agricultural operations with fewer than 500 employees to qualify for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), which offers up to $10,000 to businesses that are losing revenue amid the pandemic. Although SBA is currently processing a backlog of EIDL applications and not accepting new ones, you may still be able to prepare your documentation for when and if the program opens again. Learn more and apply for EIDL.

IMPORTANT: August 8 is now the last day to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans to small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. Read OEFFA’s April 13 Farm Policy Matters blog post for more information about PPP and how to apply. If you have questions about staying eligible for loan forgiveness, see this Farm Commons webinar. Contact your usual lender immediately if you are interested.

To contact the SBA with questions, you can call their disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Take Action: Tell the USDA to Do Better

The USDA is preparing to distribute $16 billion in direct aid to farmers who have experienced financial losses due to COVID-19, but the family farmers feeding our communities may not see any of it. Tell the USDA they need to do better.

Responsible RestartOhio

  • Go to the Department of Health’s Responsible RestartOhio page for the latest on the state’s gradual re-opening.
  • They have industry specific guidance for retail, food service, and county fairs.
  • The Ohio Department of Health keeps an updated archive of all their COVID-19 related public health orders here.

Marketing and Farmers’ Market Resources

Community Supported Agriculture Resources

Farm Labor Resources

Legal Resources

Online Sales Resources

Financial Resources

  • Kiva—Kiva is a nonprofit micro-lending service that helps farmers crowdfund projects and receive loans up to $15,000 at no interest. As a Kiva Trustee, OEFFA can endorse your loan request and help guide you through the process.
  • Resilience Fund—Rural Action and several partners in Ohio and West Virginia have started a fund to offer rapid-response grants to businesses and nonprofits facing serious economic challenges in Appalachian Ohio and the Mid-Ohio Valley counties of West Virginia.
  • August 8 is the deadline to apply for A Payroll Protection Program LoanUniversity of Wisconsin has an updated overview of the PPP and EIDL and how it relates to agriculture. See this Farm Commons webinar for guidance on loan forgiveness eligibility.
  • What are Payroll Costs?—This blog helps clarify what you do, and do not need to calculate as payroll costs when applying for PPP.
  • StarkFresh Crowd-Funded Relief Loan—StarkFresh has partnered with Honeycomb Credit to provide $10,000-$25,000 working capital loans to farmers.

Policy Resources

  • Opportunity in a Time of Crisis Report—On June 30, OEFFA, the Ohio Farmers’ Market Network, the Ohio Food Policy Network, and Produce Perks Midwest released an 18-page report identifying missing links and opportunities in our local and regional food system that were exposed by COVID-19, along with eight policy recommendations Ohio’s decision-makers can implement to invest in the long-term capacity of Ohio’s farmers and farmers markets and build food security for vulnerable families.
  • Joint State Policy Recommendations—On April 2, OEFFA, the Ohio Farmers’ Market Network, the Ohio Food Policy Network, and Produce Perks Midwest called on state leaders to adopt six policies that help farmers, farmers’ markets, and low income food access.
  • State Policy Recommendations—OEFFA submitted these policy recommendations to the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Governor on March 23, 2020.
  • Farm Policy Matters Blog—Watch OEFFA’s policy blog for updates on state and federal policy affecting farmers, farmers’ markets, and aid for impacted businesses.
  • Farm Policy Matters Resources for Action—Find recent action alerts and resources for taking action on the issues you care about.
  • Action Alert: Tell the USDA to Do Better— The USDA is preparing to distribute $16 billion in direct aid to farmers who have experienced financial losses due to COVID-19, but the family farmers feeding our communities may not see any of it. Tell the USDA they need to do better.
  • Action Alert: Tell Governor DeWine to Support Farmers, Farmers’ Markets, and Food Access During COVID-19—Ask Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to act now to protect small and mid-size farmers, farmers’ markets, and families who rely on nutrition assistance by adopting six important policies backed by Ohio’s food and farm organizations.
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition—OEFFA’s national partner offers regular COVID-19 updates, federal policy analysis, and action opportunities.
  • What the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Means for SNAP—The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities details the added flexibility Congress has provided the states for managing SNAP during the crisis.
  • House Ag Committee COVID-19 Resources—Helpful Resources for Food and Agriculture from the house ag committee and various federal agencies.

Health Resources

Citizen Resources

  • Four Ways to Support Family Farmers—Continue to support farmers during this difficult time by signing up for a CSA (see above), shopping farms and food businesses online, shopping local retailers and farm stands, or by contacting your farmer.
  • Resilience Fund—Rural Action and several partners in Ohio and West Virginia have started a fund to offer rapid-response grants to businesses and nonprofits facing serious economic challenges in Appalachian Ohio and the Mid-Ohio Valley counties of West Virginia. The fund is currently accepting donations.

USDA Resources

OSU Resources

  • COVID-19 Hub—OSU has launched a comprehensive hub for all of their resources on their Knowledge Exchange.
  • OSU Farm Office—OSU’s Farm Office team has a number of COVID-19 resources related to legal considerations and government support programs.
  • OSU Extension COVID-19 Resource Page—OSU will be posting resources on food safety and more.
  • OSU Extension COVID-19 Factsheets—OSU’s Produce Safety Team has compiled factsheets on produce safety, community health, and best practices for markets, restaurants, and foodbanks.
  • OSU Ag Madness—Look for archived webinars on a variety of agriculture-related topics.

Other Resources


Contact Us

We’re here to help. Call (614) 421-2022, email covid19@oeffa.com, or contact one of our staff members if we can be of assistance.

Donate or Become a Member

During this difficult time, OEFFA is responding to the new and urgent challenges faced by family farmers. If you find value in these resources and OEFFA’s work, and you’re able to afford it, please consider making a donation or becoming a member, so we can continue to help others. Together, we’ll get through this and grow.

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