What happened this week

And a word from our Compliance Team
Dear Rebecca,

We’ve reached the end of another week, and for many of us this new “abnormal” is starting to settle into an odd routine. Headlines continue to alternately disturb and give hope, along with more immediate concerns–whether financial, social or health-related. Like last week, in the absence of testing there is only so much we can know about the trajectory of the disease and efficacy of prevention (and thus ability to resume any normal activity). That said, we are also seeing inspiring work from people and organizations—and many of you—working to help ease the impact of this pandemic and get through this thing together.
 
Taking a look both at home and around the world, policy is looking similar globally—independent farmers are working desperately to be treated fairly while commodity groups and corporations look set to take the money and run. We launched a sign-on letter with twenty-one other agricultural and environmental groups this week to demand farmers be included in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, available to every other small business except farmers. We got some traction and are hearing hopeful sounds on this bipartisan cause, but the proof will be in the pudding. Here’s what else we’ve been up to:
 
From your peers: We continue our video series this week with Rinkse de Jong of Working Cows Dairy in Slocomb, Alabama who has seen an explosion in demand from local customers and hopes it will endure. Rinske says, “Think outside the box. You have to think outside the box. If something was working three years ago it’s not working… Start thinking about other things you can do.” Follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to see it first.

The hard but hopeful: For farms facing severe financial losses and having trouble with other programs it may be possible to file for unemployment through your state. A webinar from Farm Commons has a good overview, available recorded on demand and via Facebook.

The new: We’ve added new listings and resources to both our Marketplace and Collected COVID-19 Resources for Farmers pages. Our Online Shopping page (which lists national and regionally available online shopping options) continues to be the most popular section of our website, along with our directory, so if you’re not listed and should be, please get in touch with your coordinator as soon as possible to be added.
 
The upcoming: ‘Help Farms Feed Hungry Families’ Fundraiser. You should have received an email from us sharing this opportunity for farmers to help raise money and be reimbursed for providing food to their local community. We have some wonderful project shaping up and would be glad to add yours. Feel free to fill out this form or get in touch with your outreach coordinator to help.

Compliance Corner: We’re hearing from many folks there is additional market need in their community. Here’s how you can help your neighbors and stay compliant with your certification:

Background: All product marketed by a farm for a species certified under the seal must either have been raised on the certified farm from birth to slaughter or sourced from another certified farm. However, a farm may market products from other farms at their on-farm store and through other markets so long as the product does not carry the seal and the animals were either purchased at point of slaughter (never setting foot on the farm) or the products marketed are purchased after slaughter. The certified farm can also market the products from non-certified farms in their store and other markets, but is required to keep clear supply chain records and traceability that confirms no non-certified product was marketed under an AGW seal and that it was clear to consumer what they were purchasing.
 
What if I have a friend or neighbor who is running out of resources?
If you have a neighbor that is running out of feed or pasture and you want to help them by allowing the non-certified animals on your farm to help care for them, Animal Welfare Approved standards must be met while animals are on your farm and under your control. You also need to have a good bio-security plan in place to protect the health of both sets of animals. In dealing with rescue animals, or if you need to move animals to a non-certified farm for care while maintaining ownership due to lack of resources at your farm, please contact us for guidance on protocols that need to be in place to maintain certification.
 
What if I need my neighbors help or need to sale animals due to lack of markets or resources?
If you need to move animals to a non-certified farm, please contact us for guidance on protocols that need to be in place to maintain certification. In an emergency, you may also be able to market animals through non-approved outlets that would not normally be allowed, so please get in touch if you think you may need this option.

Our Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 issues of Sustainable Farming Magazine have helpful information about this. We’re here to help you meet local market needs while staying compliant. They key thing to remember is to please contact the program for guidance if you have any questions.

I hope some of this is useful and be sure to let us know if you come across other resources we should be sharing. As always, we’re here for you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help.

With best wishes,

Andrew Gunther
Executive Director
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