Last Updated: 4/5/2021
How We’re Supporting Impacted Farmers
RAFI-USA staff continues our current work on issues affecting farmers and rural communities. In addition, we are evaluating what other work may be needed to mitigate the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, as well as recovery efforts afterwards. Some of our COVID-19 response work over the last year included:
- Supporting farmers markets and farmers whose marketing channels were impacted.
- Offering emergency mini-grants for farmers who experienced a drastic loss of income as a result of the virus and needed immediate assistance for household expenses.
- Awarding grants through the Farmers of Color Network with consideration of how this grants program could better meet the needs of farmers given the impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses.
- Advocating for policies that provide necessary COVID-19 relief to farmers, farmers markets, farm workers, local feeding efforts, and agricultural communities in general.
Grant & Loan Opportunities
- Coronavirus Food Assistance Program – In late March the USDA announced the creation of a new initiative, USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers (PAP). PAP was created in response to a review of past COVID relief programs and aims to focus on providing relief to small to mid scale operations and underserved producers. Under the umbrella of PAP, CFAP-2 will reopen for 60 days which started April 5. More information about CFAP-2 is available on our Farmers Resources page. Visit the CFAP website for details. Contract poultry and livestock growers are NOW eligible to apply for COVID relief payments.
- Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan – Loans to assist small business and self-employed individuals (like farmers) impacted by COVID-19. The loans are designed to be forgiven if certain requirements are met. Loan calculations for self-employed farmers will now take into account gross Schedule F income rather than net income. Loans are available to farmers whether they already received a PPP loan or not. The deadline to apply for PPP is May 31, 2021. Application | PPP Overview
- COVID Disaster Set Aside – Farmers who have USDA farm loans affected by COVID-19 may apply to defer up to the full amount of one year’s annual FSA loan installment. The deferred payment is then moved to the end of their loan repayment period. The principal set aside will continue to accrue interest until repaid. Farmers with an annual FSA direct farm loan payment between now and September 1, 2021 may contact their FSA office to apply. Program Overview
Webinars & Resources
- Create a Free Online Store for your Farm – PowerPoint Presentation by NC Cooperative Extension educator, Debbie Roos. Includes step-by-step instructions.
- Farmers’ Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms – National Young Farmers Coalition
- COVID-19 Farming Resources from NC Cooperative Extension
- A thorough list of resources for farmers related to COVID-19 from the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program. Includes information about food safety, financial assistance, alternative markets, and resources in Spanish.
For Farmers Market Managers, Farmworkers & Communities
- Facebook Live webinar regarding the impact of COVID-19 on farm workers communities.
- Guidance for farmers markets from the Farmers Market Coalition
- Community garden guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic – NC A&T, Cooperative Extensions
- Farmworker “Know Your Rights” resources from North Carolina Justice Center
- Where to Buy Local: map of farms in NC and SC providing on-farm, pick-up, or home delivery sales, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
- Meat Suite is a website designed to help consumers in NY and NC find locally produced, high quality meats in bulk
- Connect with local farms using the Visit NC Farm App and arrange for curbside pickup or delivery of seasonal products
Ways to Help
- Donate to RAFI-USA: with your support we can continue to adapt our programming and policy advocacy to support farmers, farmworkers, and rural communities impacted by COVID-19
- List of requested donations for NC farmworkers impacted by COVID-19, Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry
In an effort to do our part for social distancing, RAFI-USA staff members are working remotely until further notice. Events and meetings that were scheduled have been cancelled or postponed. Due to our flexible work from home policy, RAFI-USA staff are equipped to continue our work remotely.