COVID-19 Resources for Vermont Farmers and Food Producers

Updated: 4/30/2020

This list is intended to help guide farmers and food producers to resources and support. If you have suggestions for information that should be here, please contact WAgN at wagn@uvm.edu or 802-476-2003 x204. Scroll down or use this table of contents to jump to a specific set of resources.

New Resources as of 5/4/2020

 

General Resources – Vermont

  • Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets COVID-19 information page provides information for farms, agricultural businesses, farm markets and service providers.
  • Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) is a one-stop shop for all types of Vermont businesses, as well as having resources for individuals and communities. Additionally, ACCD has specific sector-by-sector “stay safe” guidance, including provisions for agriculture, forestry and nurseries and greenhouses.
  • Vermont Health Connect Special Enrollment Period: Due to COVID-19, VT Health Connect is offering a special enrollment period (through April 17) for those who do not currently have health insurance to enroll in a qualified health plan and receive premium and cost-sharing assistance, if eligible. Eligible Vermonters can continue to apply for, and enroll in, Medicaid at any time. Call VT Health Connect at 855-899-9600. Questions? Call the Health Care Advocate at 800-917-7787.
  • Vermont Specialty Food Association Coronavirus Resource Guide includes information and resources for business that are staying open and those who are temporarily closing. Topics include labor, financial assistance, childcare, and other issues.
  • USDA Service Centers in Vermont will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. To conduct business with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency must call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. Producers can find Service Center phone numbers at farmers.gov/service-center-locator.
  • UVM Extension protocols for farm visits with producers (published March 24, 2020).

General Resources – National

Business Continuity

Produce-Related Resources

 

Marketing and Alternative Sales Channels

  • Selling and Sourcing Vermont Food in the Time of COVID-19: Farmers interested in direct sales, as well as agricultural service providers and others supporting farms are invited to join with other farmers, and educators and ag service providers to share strategies, challenges, and resources in a series of online conversations.This webpage contains links to Zoom recordings from previous sessions and registration information for upcoming opportunities.
  • The Farmers Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms from the National Young Farmers Coalition can help you compare software platforms for online sales channels.
  • Recorded Webinar on Online Sales Platforms for Farmers
    A one-hour webinar hosted by Oregon Tilth on online sales platforms for farmers is available as a recording. Watch this webinar to learn more about direct-to-consumer online sales platforms, including Barn2Door, Harvie, Local Food Marketplace, Food4All, and Open Food Network. Oregon Tilth has also posted questions to ask when considering online sales platforms.
  • Vermont Agritourism Facebook Group, created by the Farm to Plate Agritourism Task Force, is a discussion space for Vermont farmers who offer agritourism and direct sales. It is being used to share COVID=19 related resources and adaptations.
  • Farm-Based Educator COVID-19 Think Tank on Facebook is a place to ask questions, give support and share resources and ideas about farm-based education in the time of COVID-19.

Legal Aspects

Labor & Unemployment Information

 

Resources for Dairy and Livestock Operations

Financial Assistance

  • Emergency SBA funding through the Paycheck Protection Loan Program (PPP) can cover payroll costs, utilities, mortgage interest or rent. Farms that meet SBA small business thresholds are eligible to apply for this low interest, forgivable loan program. PPP loans are first come first served, until funding is expended, and are applied for through your local lender. All loans need to be finalized by June 30. Learn more about PPP loans.
  • American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund
    To help directly support farmers impacted by the current crisis, American Farmland Trust (AFT) launched its Farmer Relief Fund. AFT’s Farmer Relief Fund will award farmers cash grants up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Initially, eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs. Applications are due by April 23, 2020.
  • The New England Grassroots Environmental Fund is offering up to $1,000 grants to organizations with budgets under $100,000 to support their response to COVID-19.
  • Small Business Administration Disaster Loans in Response to Coronavirus The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.
  • Vermont Farm Fund Emergency Loans

Other Resources