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COVID-19 agriculture updates: April 08

Hello again Sarasota and DeSoto County producers!

Today’s updates cover fresh produce, livestock auctions, horse breeding operations, unemployment assistance, resources in Spanish and Creole, and an easy way to find food pantries near you.

I’ve gotten calls today from producers who got my phone number from fellow farmers and fertilizer/feed dealers who are receiving my daily emails. Thank you to everyone who is sharing this information and making sure that your friends, neighbors, and customers are getting the information they need. If you know of anyone who would like to be receiving my emails, let me know and I will add them to my list.

Here’s today’s updates:

  1. Fresh Produce Survey: FDACS and UF/IFAS are asking your assistance with creating a list of farms, businesses, and online markets selling Florida-grown food directly to final consumers.
    • The intention is to build a directory of sellers who are moving Florida-grown foods to consumers during the market disruptions caused by COVID-19.
      • The list may include farms selling directly to consumers, online farmers markets, community food hubs, or food distributors who now are selling directly to households.
      • An online form has been created to collect this information. The information submitted through this form will be made public to help consumers find local and online options for purchasing Florida-grown food. It may also help farms identify additional market outlets.
      • Here’s the link: https://forms.gle/s6Hwfy8miH7VfN3G7
  2. Unemployment assistance FAQs: http://www.floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/reemployment-assistance-center/new-individual-faq-includes-cares-act-final.pdf?sfvrsn=5f2547b0_4
    • This is a just-released, very comprehensive list of frequently asked questions and answers about unemployment assistance in Florida right now.
    • Just an FYI – in Florida, “filing for unemployment” is officially called “Reemployment Assistance Benefits”.
  3. Creole Version of the Corona Virus Ag. Worker Safety poster is ready and is attached to this email
  4. The Small Business Administration’s website is available in Spanish. Here is a link to SBA virus-related information in Spanish: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-orientacion-y-recursos-de-prestamos-para-pequenas-empresas
  5. Food pantry locator: www.feedingflorida.org/taking-action/find-food-now/
    • This website has an interactive map of all the food pantries in Florida. If you or your employees need food or want to donate food, this website will help you find a place.
  6. Economic analysis of fresh produce sales during COVID-19: https://www.producebluebook.com/2020/04/06/fresh-produce-purchases-lag-far-behind-other-departments-amid-covid-19/#
    • If you want to read an economic analysis of how the fresh produce market is doing across the United States, this is a good article.
  7. Rumors about livestock auctions being shut down are not true
    • There is a rumor that all livestock auctions in FL, GA, and AL have been shut down. This is not true. There are a few livestock auctions in GA and AL that have chosen to close, but as far as I am aware, all livestock auction houses in Florida are open.
    • Some auction houses have changed how they operate, so keep your ears open for any changes that your local auction house might be making.
  8. Information for horse owners, boarders, and horse breeding operations:
    • Extension Horses will be hosting a series of webinars focused on COVID-19 for horse owners and equine businesses. The first webinar in the series was earlier today (I just learned about this – sorry for the delay in information!). Each webinar will be recorded and available soon. Find information about upcoming webinars here: https://connect.extension.org/event/covid-19-financial-assistance-options-for-horse-owners-and-horse-businesses
    • I’ve also attached copies of three resources for horse operations: Defining Essential Care, Essential Care FAQs, and Preparedness Plan infographics.

Sincerely,


ATTACHMENTS

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