Good morning DeSoto and Sarasota County Producers!
I hope that you are all doing ok on this Tuesday morning. I have a pile of information for you today. It is organized into three sections so you can find just the info relevant to your operation: COVID-19 Relief and Impacts; Fruit/Veg/Other Crops; and Livestock/Hay/Pasture.
Before diving into details, I just want to say that I am well aware that many of the large-scale agriculture relief efforts are not working for many producers, especially those of you who are some combination of small-scale, sole-operator with no employees, farmers market vendors and those who sell direct to restaurants, poultry producers, cut flower growers and specialty crop producers growing crops other than the short list that has been approved for federal relief funds.
For those of you who have fallen through the cracks of eligibility for major relief funding such as PPP, EIDL loans, and CFAP, I am searching for options designed to fit your businesses and will share info as I find it. We also need to share stories of how you are trying and failing to access the aid that you need. If you have time to write up a few paragraphs, please do. You can share your stories with me, Alan Brock (our very approachable, regional FDACS Director: Alan.Brock@fdacs.gov), or anyone else you trust to bring your message to our lawmakers.
And as always, here’s the link to the blog archive of most of the info I’ve sent to you since March: https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasotaco/tag/pgm_ag/
COVID-19 Relief and Impacts
- Farm Aid COVID-19 Farmer Resilience Initiative
- Farm Aid is offering this emergency relief grant in the amount of $500 for farmers in Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, and US Virgin Islands who have seen drastic impacts to their business and household as a result of COVID-19.
- The mini-grant funding is $500 and is meant to lessen the immediate financial needs of farmers and their households. This means funds could cover expenses like food, medical bills, utility bills, etc. The funds are NOT meant to cover farm production expenses.
- Here’s the link for more information and to apply: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TXFpaSqiidmM934DK9hONXVbVUY2oSfUSZn1RZ8nqts/viewform?edit_requested=true
2. USDA Rural Development Business and Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program Webinar
- The B&I Loan program for rural businesses is having a webinar tomorrow (Wednesday, June 3, 2020) at 2pm to help business owners understand eligibility, details of loan, and how to apply.
- For more information, open this link in a new window: B&I CARES Act Program
- To register, go to: globalmeetwebinar.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1324161&tp_key=6067315417
3. Cattle feedlot impacts
- For those of you who operate cow-calf operations, this article gives really good insight into how feedlots and the fed cattle market in general are faring in light of ongoing market, processing, and distribution disruptions: http://feedlotmagazine.com/covid-19-provokes-turbulence-in-feedlots/.
Fruit, Vegetable, and Other Crops
- Survey for DeSoto County fruit and vegetable producers
- UF is doing a survey to identify water quantity and quality research priorities from the perspective of growers in the Southern Region.
- DeSoto County is one of the 10 counties with the highest irrigated acreage in Florida. As one of the top agricultural producers in the state, UF wants to know your thoughts on what type of research is needed to help farmers with water quality and quantity.
- Survey should take about 20 minutes and the priorities that are identified by the survey will be used to develop new research initiatives and support current research and Extension programs.
- If you want to participate in this survey, please be in touch with Megan Donovan: firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-273-3504
2. SSAWG is closing their doors
- SSAWG (Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) is closing their doors after 29 years of work to support the development of sustainable agriculture in the SE.
- For more information open this link in a few window: Southern SAWG closing
Livestock, Hay, and Pasture
- UF’s Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona is having an open Q&A Session next week:
- Ona Highlight featuring a Q & A session with the UF/IFAS RCREC Faculty – June 9, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
- Join us for an informal question and answer session with UF/IFAS RCREC faculty.
- Register for the webinar online, click here.
2. Florida Cattlemen’s Association Convention is happening on-line this year:
3. South Florida Beef Forage Program’s (SFBFP) online list of Products and Services
- The SFBFP is the group of Livestock/Agriculture Extension Agents in SW Florida that I am a part of. Our website is full of fantastic resources, including this online list of Products and Services: https://sfbfp.ifas.ufl.edu/product_service_directory/index.shtml
- The first two categories (Construction and Breeding Services) on the list are being updated right now. If you see a business that is missing, let us know! The best way to do that is to fill out this online form:
If you made it to the end of this email: I’m impressed! Thank you to everyone who has reached out with questions and requests over the past few months. Hearing from you is always that highlight of my day, so keep those phones ringing!
All my best to all of you,