COVID-19 agriculture updates: April 03 (part 1 of 2)

Good morning Sarasota and DeSoto County Producers,

I hope that many of you were able to listen into the Town Hall conversation with the Commissioner of Ag and the President of Farm Bureau last night. It was really helpful to me to hear what is happening at the state and federal level.

There were a few big take-aways from the meeting, one of which is that in the next week or so, you can expect more official communications from FDACS about relief programs and alternative market access. To be eligible to sell into federal disaster relief funded markets, you will need to be registered on the FDACS website as a Fresh From Florida Farmer/Rancher.

I have two important updates this morning. One is how to get registered and the second is very important updates for u-pick and agritourism operations.

  • Register now to be a Fresh From Florida vendor. In Florida, federal relief money will be used to purchase fresh food directly from Fresh From Florida producers to provide critically needed food for the emergency food system, alternative school feeding programs, and other programs that are helping keep our friends and neighbors fed.
    • To register, go to:
      • This link will take you to the MyFloridaMarketPlace, which is the State of Florida’s eProcurement system
      • This is a security notice on the registration page, please read before registering: * When registering for MyFloridaMarketPlace, we strongly recommend using a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) rather than a social security number. Using an FEIN will minimize the risks to personal financial information associated with the use of social security numbers. If you do not have a FEIN number, please take a few minutes and obtain one through the following link: There is no cost for this number.
  • Important Updates for U-Pick and Agritourism Farms:
    • Our regional FDACS representative has asked me to share the following, which was written by the Collier County Agriculture Agent (Jessica Ryals). It very clearly shows how quickly guidance is changing as the virus spreads. The following is very different information than I shared yesterday morning. Please read:

      State of Florida’s Governor in Executive Order 20-91 (Stay at home order):

      • On-Farm sales of products are allowed to continue.
      • U-pick operations are allowed to continue. However, note that On-farm harvesting by the public is a real gray area, legally, and if possible should be avoided for public health (and legal liability) purposes. If possible, producers should move to a farm stand model for retail sales.
      • Agritourism operations that are not strictly related to food cultivation and production, such as recreation, is prohibited at this time.
      • The Governors order makes clear that social gatherings are not essential activities and there is a number limit of 10 people in public spaces.
      • For Agritourism and U-pick operations that are allowed, there is potential enforcement if more than 10 people congregate.
      • General council also noted producers should understand the risks of bringing the public onto your property, especially during these times. Florida State Agritourism Statue still stands but in this time of pandemic, not having any precautions in place and not knowing who is coming onto your property may be opening yourself up to legal ramifications.

      Steven Hall in the Office of General Counsel, FDACS is available to answer any questions you may have.

      Steven L. Hall
      General Counsel
      Office of General Counsel
      Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
      (850) 617-7700
      (850) 617-7744 Fax
      The Capitol
      400 South Monroe Street, PL-10
      Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800

      Stay safe, keep sending your questions my way. Thank you for all the questions that a handful of you sent my way yesterday. We are working on getting answers to everything as quickly as possible.


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Posted: April 3, 2020

Category: Agriculture
Tags: Ag, Agriculture, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Covidagupdate, Pgm_Ag

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