This week brought a number of changes with COVID-19 and trying to stop its spread. We wanted to remind you that we have continued to work on updating the Farmer Resource page on the Virginia Farm Bureau website. You can access it here: https://www.vafb.com/FarmerResources
Here are some of the highlights of what we have updated:
Agriculture Labor Tab:
• Letters for workers or farmers to carry when traveling in North Carolina and Maryland. You still do not need a letter to travel in Virginia. We have also posted the State Police guidance that they issued on April 1st.
• Looking for guidance with providing farm employees information: https://bit.ly/2UDJtFB Continue reading
The State Fair of Virginia is inviting all crafters, quilters and others who create with textiles to help make face masks for health care professionals.
As Virginia faces a rise in COVID-19 cases, health care workers and facilities across the state are grappling with the respirator and face mask shortage affecting the entire nation.
Responding to local demand and the growing movement to make homemade face masks to support health care providers, fair organizers are asking its community of crafters to start sewing.
Walker, Umbarger, Isom
Recognizing the agricultural contributions and achievements of its members, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Leadership Committee announced its annual recognition and district award winners on March 27.
Dr. Martha Walker of Pittsylvania County was named the 2020 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture; Courtney Umbarger of Smyth County was named 2020 Distinguished Farm Bureau Woman; and Shelby Isom of Grayson County was named 2020 Farm Bureau Ambassador.
Stefanie Kitchen, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, many farmers are turning to direct marketing for new revenue streams. Given the uncertainty of the times, it is a good idea to be extra vigilant about farm security. While there are no reports of such activity in Virginia at this time, California and other states have seen animal activists trespassing on farms as part of a campaign to blame animal agriculture for the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, direct marketing operations in other states have seen increased instances of looting. Here are a few farm security measures to keep in mind:
- Keep an eye out for suspicious activity. If you feel like you may be a target, notify law enforcement immediately.
- Have a security plan or crisis management plan in place ahead of time, and prepare your family and employees to handle a situation.
- Know where all possible points of entry are.
- Maintain basic security: lock doors, gates, and cabinets; have proper lighting, alarms and cameras; post signs for restricted areas and no trespassing.
- Establish check-in procedures for visitors at your farm and ensure all employees and family members know the steps to follow if a visitor shows up. Escort visitors at all times.
Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance
For additional farm security tips and resources, contact Stefanie Kitchen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out this week’s Merchandiser Minute!
Ben Rowe, National Affairs Coordinator
Congress loves acronyms. They take complex pieces of legislation and give them a clever acronym title to make us all feel better during difficult times. In 2008 they passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to give us shelter from the financial storm. In 2018 the House introduced the Robo Calls Off Phones (ROBO COP) Act to protect us from fraudulent cell phone calls. Now, as we face a global health pandemic, the House and Senate have both passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to show that Congress C.A.R.E.S. about our health and financial wellbeing. The President has already committed to signing the bill, so, with a price tag north of $2T and bill text of several hundred pages, what all does the bill include and what does that mean for Virginia’s farmers?
Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has created a new resource on its website to provide farmers with current information relating to COVID-19 and its impact on their livelihoods.
“Virginia Farm Bureau remains committed to providing our producer members and all Virginia farmers with timely and relevant information related to farm operations during this public health challenge,” said Pam Wiley, the organization’s communications director.
Following a request submitted by Governor Northam on March 18, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Virginia. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the Commonwealth affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis can now apply for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. To submit a loan application through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also request to defer the payment of state sales tax due tomorrow, March 20, 2020, for 30 days. When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties.
The Governor has requested that the Department of Taxation to extend the due date of payment of Virginia individuals and corporate income taxes. While filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020. Please note that interest will still accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadlines should do so.
The Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers have extended their contest deadlines. Applications for the Young Farmers Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Outstanding Young Agriculturalist are now due April. 30. Signature requirements have been waived, and they are willing to work with people in special circumstances.
For more information, contact Ron Saacke at email@example.com or visit https://www.vafb.com/membership-at-work/farmers-in-action/young-farmers
Looking for online learning activities for your kiddos? Virginia AITC is offering online programs to supplement students’ virtual learning for the next two weeks and beyond.
What you can expect:
– Read-aloud books with extension activities
– Demonstration labs with companion resources
– Ideas for labs that families can complete at home
– Materials that correlate with SOLs, mainly K-8
Follow Virginia AITC on Facebook, where most of the content will be published, at www.facebook.com/VirginiaAgintheClassroom/
To gain access to supplemental resources, please fill out this short Google Form: