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.

View this week’s COVID Resilience Resources Weekly UpdateVolume 8: CFAP Edition

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.

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.

The deal also replenishes the depleted 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. This funding is not expected to last long due to strong demand, so apply as soon as you can.

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.

USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Contracts Awarded

The USDA is partnering with regional and local distributors to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat, box those items into “shares” for individual families, and distribute them through foodbanks and other nonprofits. A list of contract recipients is available by region on the USDA’s website. Additional details are available on the USDA AMS website.

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.

Ohio Stay at Home Order

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.
  • Farmer Relief Fund—The American Farmland Trust is offering cash grants of up to $1,000 to small and mid-sized direct marketing farms to help them cope with market disruptions caused by COVID-19.
  • Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program—The USDA has announced the availability of $27 million in grant funding. May 26 is the deadline to apply.
  • FACT Mini-Grants—The Food Animal Concerns Trust is accepting mini-grant applications of up to $500 from livestock and poultry farmers who are experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Payroll Protection Program LoansCornell University, University of Wisconsin, and the Farm Bureau each have overviews of the PPP and how it relates to agriculture.
  • 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

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.
  • Farmer Relief Fund—The American Farmland Trust is offering cash grants of up to $1,000 to small and mid-sized direct marketing farms to help them cope with market disruptions caused by COVID-19. If you don’t farm, but want to help, please consider donating to the fund.

USDA Resources

OSU Resources

  • COVID-19 Hub—OSU has launched a comprehensive hub for all of their resources on their Knowledge Exchange.
  • 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 daily webinars on a variety of agriculture-related topics at 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m.

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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