The national COVID-19 emergency has had deep impacts on our farming community. 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. When you call into the main number, (614) 262-2022 choose option 1 for the Organic Certification Program; option 2 if you are in Ohio and are calling about cost share; and option 3 to reach the OEFFA Education Program. If you are calling an individual staff member, you can find their direct line in our staff directory here.
Pandemic Assistance for Producers
The USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers is a new initiative meant to reach a broader set of producers than in previous COVID-19 aid programs. The USDA has reopened sign-up for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2 for at least 60 days beginning on April 5, 2021.
Carrying out formula payments under CFAP 1, CFAP 2, CFAP AA, FSA must make certain payments to producers including: (1) an increase in CFAP 1 payment rates for cattle, (2) additional CFAP assistance of $20 per acre for producers of eligible crops identified as CFAP 2 flat-rate or price-trigger crops, and (3) finalize routine decisions and minor formula adjustments on applications and begin processing payments for certain applications filed as part of the CFAP Additional Assistance. In some cases, USDA will take action on applications already submitted, or may require applicants to submit additional information.
You can find more information, apply online, or download printable applications at the USDA’s CFAP website. If you have questions or need assistance applying, please contact your local USDA Service Center.
Paycheck Protection Program Deadline Extended to May 31
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans until May 31, 2021. We recommend contacting your regular lender as soon as possible if you are interested. Farmers’ Legal Action Group’s (FLAG) COVID-19 Guide has helpful information on the updates.
All Ohioans age 16 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Click here to find appointment information on the more than 1,300 local providers offering the vaccine statewide or visit the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program page.
- Go to the Department of Health’s Responsible RestartOhio page for the latest on the state’s gradual re-opening.
- The Ohio Department of Health keeps an updated archive of all their COVID-19 related public health orders here.
Marketing and Farmers’ Market Resources
- Farmers’ Market Coalition—This national network provides examples, best practices, and resources for market managers.
- Ohio Farmers’ Market Network—This network provides support and resources for market managers and market vendors. Follow them on Facebook, review their recommendations for operating farmers’ markets safely, or review the supporting document with photo examples, COVID-19 Operational Response for Farmers’ Markets.
- Produce Perks Midwest—Produce Perks is working to keep SNAP accessible as farmers and markets find ways to operate under social distancing and the state adjusts to new flexibility from Congress.
- COVID-19 FAQ for Farmers’ Markets—North Carolina State University has released guidance for farmers markets.
Community Supported Agriculture Resources
- Good Earth Guide—Find OEFFA member farms, CSAs, and food businesses in your area, or list your operation for free.
- Local Harvest—Find local farms and CSAs, or list your business.
- National CSA Directory—Modern Farmer is creating a national list of CSAs which farmers can be listed in and customers can search.
- CSA Innovation Network—This network offers resources for CSA farmers, including COVID-19 adaptations.
- Local Food Anywhere—Forager built an online interactive map to help people find farms in their area. Follow the link to add your farm.
Farm Labor Resources
- H2-A Visa Program—Find news and resources for employers of H2-A agricultural workers. As of March 26, 2020, the State Department has loosened interview requirements for H2-A applicants.
- Guidance on Preparing Your Workplace for COVID-19—OSHA has published a guide for workplaces to function safely.
- Template In-Transit Letter for Agriculture Employees—This is a template letter agricultural businesses and employees can edit, print, and carry while driving and engaged in business.
- Seasonal Farm Jobs—If you’re looking for labor, this is a free listing service for seasonal farm job seekers and host farmers using sustainable growing practices.
- The COVID-19 Crisis: Planning for Extra Care on Your Small/Mid-Sized Farm—The Agricultural Justice Project offers recommendations on maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for your employees.
- Best Management Practices for Vegetable Producers—Penn State has a detailed set of recommendations for minimizing risk on vegetable farms.
- Farm Commons COVID-19 Resources—Farm Commons has a number of free resources exploring legal considerations brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.
- SBA Loan Programs—The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog gives a useful summary of both the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the surrounding issues.
- Payroll Protection Program Loans—Cornell University, University of Wisconsin, and the Farm Bureau each have overviews of the PPP and how it relates to agriculture.
- Farmers Guide to COVID-19 Relief—The Farmers Legal Action Group have developed information on PPP, EIDL, unemployment insurance, foreclosure moratoriums, and more.
- Legal Resources For Farmers—The Legal Food Hub is a free legal services clearinghouse for farmers, food entrepreneurs, and related organizations.
Online Sales Resources
- Online Platform Comparison Chart—This National Young Farmers Coalition analysis compares the cost, service, and experience of various online sales platforms.
- Online Sales Platforms For Farmers Webinar—Oregon Tilth hosted a webinar featuring sales representatives from Food4All, Barn2Door, Harvie, Local Food Marketplace, and Open Food Network.
- Buckeye Harvest Market
- Google Sheets
- Local Line
- Market Link
- Market Wagon
- Online Farmers Markets
- Open Food Network
- RoadWarrior Route Planner
- Yellow Bird Foodshed
- FSA Debt Payments—The American Rescue Plan includes provisions for the USDA to pay up to 120 percent of loan balances, as of January 1, 2021, for Farm Service Agency (FSA) Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loans and Farm Storage Facility Loans debt relief to any socially disadvantaged producer who has a qualifying loan with FSA.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition—OEFFA’s national partner offers regular COVID-19 updates, federal policy analysis, and action opportunities.
- House Ag Committee COVID-19 Resources—Helpful Resources for Food and Agriculture from the house ag committee and various federal agencies.
- Stress and Mental Health Resources—Find resources for managing your mental health or if you’re in crisis during this stressful time.
- Health Insurance Options For Farm Families—Farmers who lost health insurance because a spouse lost a job may qualify to purchase coverage through Healthcare.gov outside of the open enrollment period.
- CDC COVID-19 Website—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention post up-to-date information and disease guidance.
- Ohio Department of Health—This page contains regular updates, guidance, and statistics.
- USDA American Rescue Plan Fact Sheet—The American Rescue Plan recently signed into law includes a number of provisions related to food and agriculture.
- USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program—The CFAP program is currently being evaluated by the USDA. We will add updates as they are announced.
- USDA COVID-19 website—Find the latest news from the USDA on COVID-19.
- USDA Rural Development COVID-19 Response—Find the latest news from USDA Rural Development on COVID-19. Rural Development has also published a COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide.
- Farm Loan, Disaster, Conservation and Safety Net Programs—The USDA Farm Service Agency’s press release includes updates on changes to their operations and policies in response to COVID-19.
- USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Contract Awards—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.
- 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 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.
- COVID-19 Resources for Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers—University of Vermont is updating it’s list of useful resources, many of which are nationally relevant.
- Resources for Farmers Affected by COVID-19—Farm AID has a long list of resources available on their blog.
- Building Farm Resilience in this Crisis—This compilation of resources from Cornell’s Small Farms Program includes a thoughtful post with recommendations on building resilience and nourishing inspiration.
- The Wallace Center Resource List—The Wallace Center is keeping a Google sheet of resources.
- Central Appalachian Network Resource List—CAN has linked to a number of resources for individuals and businesses ranging from farmers, to small businesses, to nonprofits, to artists in Appalachian Ohio and other Appalachian states.
- Farm Answers COVID-19 Library—Farm Answers has a library specifically for practical COVID-19 resources.
- Food and COVID-19—foodTBD started an online network for exchanging and discussing COVID-19 resources.
We’re here to help. Call (614) 421-2022, email email@example.com, or contact one of our staff members if we can be of assistance.