I hope you and your families are safe and well as we move into a new week of a new month. As the ramifications of the pandemic continue to unfold, each day brings different challenges and opportunities, new places of connection and ways to support those around us.
There is a lot going on right now. Following an uptick in plant closures at a national level, there are looming food shortages and more broken links in national supply chains. While the plants in the AGW program are typically making independent management decisions and working on a smaller scale, there is not one of us immune from risks presented by COVID-19. If you are a producer or plant in the program, we encourage you to be in touch if any challenges arise. Now, more than ever, is the time to know and support farmers, ranchers and processors. Working day in and day out, you are the backbones of local and regional food systems. You feed us. We are doing all we can to make sure people know that and know how to support you.
Last week was the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. In commemoration of the day and in anticipation of this week’s Giving Tuesday Now initiative, we celebrated the launch of the “Help Farmers Feed Hungry Families” fundraiser to support farmers, food banks and families across the country. I encourage you to read more about the fundraiser, and how to share, below—along with more updates from the week:
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Updates
We got news about the Small Business Association’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program a few hours ago: the application for farmers and ranchers is available online here. At this time, only agricultural business applications (meaning those from businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching and raising of livestock, aquaculture and all other farming and agricultural related industries as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)), are accepted due to the earlier funding limitations plus the unprecedented number of applications received thus far. This eligibility is a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the pandemic. If you’re looking for helpful information on preparing your application, Farm Commons has a webinar on EIDL and here is a tutorial video that walks you through the application process. If you have already submitted an EIDL application prior to this legislation change, SBA will process without the need for reapplying (but if no one has been in touch, we recommend checking on your application to be sure). For more information, please visit: www.sba.gov/Disaster.
“Help Farmers Feed Hungry Families” Fundraiser
We’ve been operating a donation-based initiative called “Help Farmers Feed Hungry Families” to facilitate connection of farms’ excess products to community food relief organizations. We launched on Earth Day last week and continue to add projects daily. Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of giving where people around the world will give to causes that they care about, and we have extended the fundraiser to align with this day of giving. In support of other producers across the country, would you be willing to share this fundraiser with your networks to help support these amazing farms for Giving Tuesday Now?
We would like to sincerely thank each one of you who has given and shared our farm to food bank fundraiser, helping farmers and families in communities across the country. AGW farmers everywhere are encouraged to participate if you’ve seen a drop in your normal markets and can help us manage the fundraiser; just get in touch or fill out the form here.
From Your Peers
AGW-certified farms continue to make news around the country. This article about Apple Valley Creamery in Pennsylvania highlights how their milk delivery business has taken off as more people avoid grocery stores. Central Grazing Company, in this blog post, explains the problems with industrial food systems that COVID-19 has made worse, while giving us hope and clear steps towards a better food system. We are reminded of the power of community in this article about students staying on campus to operate the farm and farm store at Berea College in Kentucky.
We continue to try to get as many stories of AGW-certified producers in the press, especially while the eyes of the media on are farmers, ranchers and food producers. If you haven’t spoken with your FMOC about how we could help promote your business during this time, please let them know. They want to hear how you are doing and want to be able to sift through our resources and provide you with as much tailored assistance as possible.
- The AGW Marketplace—anyone and everyone seeking or selling AGW-certified products is encouraged to use it freely. We are continuing to hear from farmers who either need animals or are selling animals, and we continue to help facilitate connections. Please be in touch if we can help beyond the marketplace ad.
- AGW’s Online Shopping page—again, this is one of the highest-trafficked areas of our site so make sure you’re listed!
- Our COVID-19 Collected Resources for Farmers page—new resources added regularly
- Our video check-ins with farmers, processors, and people working in the supply chain across the country share how folks have adapted to pandemic-related changes in their businesses. We hope the stories and experiences of others can help move through this together.
We hope these weekly emails serve as a “home base” for news, resources and topics to support producers during this time. If you ever have ideas about how we can better support you in this space, please let us know.