COVID-19 Daily Viticulture Updates 3/26/2020

— Written By

NC State Extension Covid-19 Resources

NC State Horticulture COVID-19 Farming Resources

NC State Extension COVID-19 Portal

NC State Covid-19 Food Safety Resources

NCDA & CS is taking preventative measures: Important!!!!

Many counties and cities of the state are already in a shelter in place / stay at home order or have announced shelter in place orders for the near future. NCDA$CS has developed two documents as method to notify law enforcement or anyone else that a person is involved in the essential agriculture industry:

  1. Notice of Essential Food and Agriculture Employee (PDF)
    • The organization should complete and sign the form, which their designated employees can keep with them during necessary work activities and travel.
  2. Letter to N.C. Law Enforcement Regarding Essential Food and Agriculture Employees (PDF)
    • NCDA&CS sent this letter on March 25, 2020, to the five largest law enforcement associations in North Carolina to provide notice about essential employees in the agriculture industry of North Carolina. We are sharing here so our farm and agribusiness contacts can have a copy for their records.

Economic Impact of COVID-19

More than $40M economic losses according to the Wine America Impact Survey occurred to Grape and Wine businesses in America due to COVID-19 until today! I want to thank everyone in NC who participated in the survey.

From Whit Winslow, Director NC Grape and Wine Council:

The results of the COVID-19 Economic Impact Survey many of you completed through WineAmerica recently, have been released.

 

One question I’ve been asked recently was if there have been any extensions made to the timing of LLC filings. – I checked with the Secretary of State’s office and here is their response: “At this time, the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State is not granting extensions for filing annual reports. Please check our website (www.sosnc.gov) periodically for notifications in case things should change.” – If there is a change to this, I will let you know.

 

ABC Permit renewals extended to June 30, 2020

 

Due to some uncertainty around the language of Commissioner Troxler’s Work Authorization form I sent out last night, that has been updated. Please use the attachment, [WORK AUTHORIZATION AG GROUP PERSONNEL SIGNED.pdf] for yourselves and your employees.

 

Lastly, due to the desperate circumstance many small businesses currently find themselves in, scammers are showing up to take advantage of the fears of many small businesses. As you are applying for grants, loans, or other forms of financial relief, please be somewhat skeptical of anyone coming to you offering to help you for a fee.

 

I hope the great weather heading our way will give you all a bit of peace in this chaotic time!

Financial Aid

Please see this document for a draft summary of the provisions to the CARES Act relevant to the grape and wine industry. This document was provided by Wine America, and it summarizes how the stimulus plan would affect the CARES Act if it passes in the House of Representatives. As the situation continues to evolve, please go to the NCRLA’s COVID-19 website for updates as they receive them. You can also text “COVID-19” to 52886 to get text updates.

The stimulus package approved by the Senate on Wednesday (3/25) includes aid for the agricultural sector, and it awaits approval by the House of Representatives. Among the many benefits included in the bill, $9.5 billion would be added to the CCC account specifically for livestock and specialty crops (like fruit, vegetables, and nuts). The article in Agri-Pulse also reports on other important elements of the bill:

  • “$15.5 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to cover an expected increase in demand as a result of the pandemic.
  • $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs.
  • $450 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, which funds food distribution to food banks. 
  • $100 million for additional rural broadband grants through USDA’s ReConnect program. 
  • $33 million to the Food Safety and Inspection Service to cover the cost of temporary and intermittent workers, relocation of inspectors and overtime costs. 
  • $25 million for the Rural Utilities Service to support telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas.
  • $4 million to cover the cost of repatriating Foreign Agricultural Service staff”

NC Rapid Recovery Loan Program launched for small businesses with a funding source of $15 million. Managed by the NC Rural Center, loans can be given to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for up to six months. See the news release for more information. 

RAFI-USA has announced to help NC farmers by issuing mini-grants for affected businesses. Please sign up to receive updates via email directly from RAFI.

Please refer to the links below for financial resources that we have included in our previous updates:

3-Step Process for Getting SBA Disaster Loans

Ag Americas COVID-19 Blog

The Community Foundation of Western NC Emergency and Disaster Response Fund

COVID-19 Relief for Student Loan Borrowers

Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog FAQ’s for Employers

Department of Labor COVID-19 Response (Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities, Support for dislocated workers and states, Supporting workforce needs in the agricultural sector, etc.)

Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

Foreclosure and eviction moratorium on all USDA Single Family Housing Direct (SFHD) loans for 60 days effective 3/19/2020

Important Notice: NC Department of Revenue Provides Penalty Relief to Persons Affected by COVID-19 

Meals for kids during school closures

NC 2-1-1 (Helps families and individuals find information and resources in their community.  (Health Tips

NC State Government COVID-19 Response Page

NCDOR issues a limited-waiver of certain penalties on failure to file or pay a tax due between March 14, 2020 and March 31, 2020

Outer Banks Community Foundation Rapid Response Grants

RAFI USA gives small grants to NC farms that are affected by COVID-19

SBA Disaster Relief Loans Now Available in NC

Labor

Agricultural work is considered essential work. If the state issues a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order, farmers and agricultural employees are still allowed to leave their homes to attend work. They will need printed documentation declaring their status, and it is recommended that they keep this documentation in their car or on their person. This document was created by the NCDA&CS is provided here and on the NCDA&CS COVID-19 website. Please also see the update posted on the NCSU Extension website explaining how the NCDA&CS is planning to assist farmers and agribusinesses in the event of a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order.

While updates pertaining to COVID-19 and its effects on agricultural labor will appear on this website every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday (and additional days if news breaks), please also see NC State Extension’s resources for farmers and farmworkers webpage.

Daily NC and Global COVID-19 Update:

As of 3/26/2020, 12:36 p.m.: a total of 12,910  people in NC were tested for the virus. 636 people in NC were tested positive, 2 people have died in NC due to COVID-19.

NCDHHS Coronavirus Information Page

As of 3/26/2020, 6:45 p.m.: 529,093 people worldwide are known to be infected with the virus. 23,956 people worldwide have died due to COVID-19.

World-Wide Covid-19 GIS Tracker  

This post was created by Emma Volk (evolk@ncsu.edu) and Mark Hoffmann