COVID-19 Farming and Viticulture Resources

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(This page is updated every Wednesday evening. Last update 05/20/2020)

North Carolina moves to Re-opening Phase 2 as of May 22, 5 p.m.

COVID-19 is a viral infectious disease

caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 or SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 has impacted over 180 countries all over the world and has been classified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30, 2020. At the moment, there is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19.

Farmers and agri-tourism are facing multiple challenges, from feeding their communities amid concerns of contamination to laying off staff and workers due to enforced closures.

We want to assure you that N.C. Cooperative Extension is still with you, and will help you to get through this crisis. 

We know that many emergency regulations and recommendations are already affecting your business, and will most likely have long-lasting effects on you and your neighbors. In this document, we try to keep you updated on the most pressing questions and issues regarding the pandemic:

If part of your company has to be closed due to regulations:

  • Can sales be moved online? – See Alternative Sales * takes you to the top of our site
  • Can we function as a ‘store’ rather than a tourism place? – See Alternative Sales * takes you to the top of our site
  • How can I make sure that my staff will be able to pay their bills, even if I have to lay them off? – See Labor * takes you to our site and Financial Help * takes you to our site
  • Are there possibilities for reimbursement from the state/federal government? – See Financial Help * takes you to our site

If part of your company (or all of it) is operational: 

  • What are the food safety concerns? – See Food Safety
  • How do I have to organize my labor force? – See Labor
  • How to manage and attract customers in a safe space, despite the pandemic? – See Alternative Sales
  • Work-flow optimization and new technologies. – See Labor and Automation
  • What are alternative sales options? –  See Alternative Sales
  • How can I help the community – See Community

The COVID-19 Situation also can cause a lot of stress for you, your family members and employees. Please visit our new section: How to cope with stress on a farm?

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What to do if there is a COVID-19 case on my farm?

Webinars

1) General COVID-19 Knowledge

North Carolinas’ Governor Cooper has issued a stay-at-home order, going into effect on Mar 30, 5 p.m. As recognized by the Secretary of Agriculture as well as the Commissioner of NC, agriculture is an essential part of this country and our state. Agriculture employees who go to work, but should carry the Notice of Essential Food and Agriculture Employee (PDF) form with them at any time.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) will continue to receive, store and ship USDA Foods and Farm to School produce to all eligible recipient agencies with changes to the operating procedure to enhance social distancing. The NCDA & CS Emergency Program works closely with local communities to support agrosecurity, agricultural emergency preparedness and recovery, and rapid response technology efforts by establishing public-private partnerships between vital government agencies, industry, and volunteers.

We recommend wearing gloves when getting in contact with customers and perform distancing practices at all times. If possible, move contacts into open field settings. Washing hands frequently and not touching face and mouth parts are imperative for your own safety. Please see our NC State Extension Food Safety Resources for details.

Important Resources

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2) How Can I Help My Community?

The question of how to help your community is particularly difficult given the need to physically isolate ourselves from others. However, we are all in this together, and many people will need the help to get access to food and nutrition. As the ones who produce food, we have a responsibility to serve in a time of crisis. Several questions will have to be answered: How can communities come together when they can’t physically be in the same room or less than 6 feet apart? How can we work with organizations to make sure that the most vulnerable of our society will not go hungry? There are plenty of ways that people, particularly farmers, can help during these uncertain times.

For Farmers:

    • The NC food bank is prepared to accept large and small donations from farms. Read more here.
    • Take extra cautious food safety measures. We’ve outlined food safety regulations in the next chapter, but it is worth repeating that food safety measures mean more to the customer right now than they have in the past. Make sure that all employees are trained on proper handling and that they have easy access to sanitation measures while on the job.
    • Support laid-off workers in any way you can. Given the fact that the H-2A labor force will be smaller this growing season, farms may be short of staff. If it makes sense for your business, consider hiring those in your community who are out of work during this crisis. Please also think about using the NC Farm Link homepage and contact your local Extension Agent if you are in need of labor
    • Donate excess or “ugly” produce to food shelters. If you expect to have a surplus this season, or if you never know what to do with the produce that isn’t up to grocery store standard, consider donating. People may need more help now than they have in the past in terms of getting access to fresh produce. Talk to your local food shelters and ask if they could benefit from your donation.
    • Coordinate with your local farmers market to provide customers with the safest and healthiest shopping experience. If you sell your produce at a local farmers market, talk to those in charge about extra safety precautions that vendors and customers can take. Every farm and market will have different solutions according to community needs, so find what works best for the health of those around you. One solution farmers in the triangle have already taken is to convert to online ordering so customers can order online and then pick up a package of their produce in person. This minimizes the number of people who come into contact with produce, the customer, and yourself. Find resources for setting up online ordering below.
    • Communicate. It’s incredibly important to talk to your fellow community members. Open communication will help you understand the needs of your town and how you can best serve it. Whether it’s labor, supplies, or food, you won’t know how to provide assistance if you don’t know who needs help and what they need help with.
    • Join a food service program. Under the COVID-19 emergency statue, the USDA has issued waiver approvals enabling Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO) sponsors to serve meals in a non-congregate setting and at school sites during school closures related to the coronavirus. Please get in contact with your local Farm Bureau representative to coordinate with those programs.
    • Please reach out to local churches and community leaders to support the needs of your community during this time.
    • Please find resources from CEFS to support our community. CEFS is establishing a list of resources for agricultural production, education, and consumers

For all of us:

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3) Food Safety

Regulations will impact harvest, packaging, transportation, and sales as well as consumer education on food safety. Natalie Seymour and Benjamin Chapman from North Carolina State University have developed a comprehensive guideline on food safety, which can be found here:

Please visit NC State Food Safety Resources

Information and Flyers are available in Spanish and in English for the following:

U-Pick Operations:

How do consumers clean fresh produce?

COVID-19 is not a food borne illness (FDA). Please tell your customers to wash fresh produce under running water. Using any disinfectant chemicals, wipes or acids is not recommended and can be dangerous!

Please use these print-out resources:

Important Resources

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4) Staff Management and Labor

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.

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. 

FAQ for H2-A Employers

What to do if there is a COVID-19 case on my farm?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Disinfection:

Labor Management:

  • Please use the NC Farm Link homepage and contact your local Extension Agent if you are in need of labor or if you need to lay off people. You will help them and your community

General Recommendations:

  • Make sure that all your staff has Personal Protective Equipment available!
    • Develop a contingency plan for your staff.  A contingency plan will help to organize and manage your labor force. Include full-time, temporary labor and H-2A workers into the plan. The contingency plan for staff should answer following questions:
    • What are the responsibilities?
    • How can you create physical and timely distance between your staff?
    • Are there hygiene products available? How do you instruct staff on new work environments?
    • Are there staff members who can work remotely?
    • Who is essential, who can be working from home?
    • How is staff transported?
    • Will staff be tested for COVID-19?
    • Prepare for smaller work crews or alternative (local) hires.  Think about the following questions: What can you achieve if your typical staff is cut by 10% or 20%? What are your adjusted expectations in terms of harvesting, planting, weeding, and overall management capacity?
    • Maintain strong communication with your employees. 
    • What to do if an employee tests positive for SARS-CoV-2If one employee is sick, it is possible that others have been infected, too.
    • FDA“If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality.”  
  • Employers consult with the local health department for additional guidance.
  • Sanitation practices are important whether an employee falls ill or not.

Important Resources

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5) Supply Chain

  • Important for farmers who lost access to markets due to COVID-19 market disruptions. From the NCDA&CS: If you are a NC produce grower and looking to sell products that you don’t have a market for, we want to know. We will be compiling information, from NC growers, to distribute to major retailers on a weekly basis. This is not to be used as an alternate for markets that you already have. This service is set up to help those who don’t have markets to sell what they would normally. Call us weekly to update your availability and be listed in the distribution. This service will last until we no longer see a major need from the growers or interest from the retailers. Read more here.
  • Grocery stores, farmers markets, and farms are considered essential businesses under the NC stay at home orderThis means that these businesses can continue to operate. If you are a farmer or farmhand, please fill out and keep this document on your person when you leave your home to work. It will notify anyone questioning you that you are allowed to work outside your home under the statewide order.

Essential Business and Worker Information

Market Access

How NC Farmlink is responding to COVID-19: 

  • NC FarmLink has modified its policies to allow N.C. Cooperative Extension Agents to register NC FarmLink accounts and create farmer profiles **on behalf of Landowners & Farm Owners** and **on behalf of Farm Seekers**. 
  • Labor: This google form was created to gather contact information on individuals seeking to work on farms in North Carolina. The associated spreadsheet will be available to ag agents with a short guide on how to filter the sheet by county. Information shared from this spreadsheet must be shared in a limited manner, e.g. no more than 3 rows shared at any instance. To gain access to view the spreadsheet that contains labor wants and offers, please request permission when prompted by google when you first attempt to open the spreadsheet. 
  • NC FarmLink staff welcome the opportunity to arrange online meetings with property owners as well as farm seekers. This online google form allows individuals and agents the ability to request a meeting related to NC FarmLink program mission and goals.

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6) Statewide Farmers-market status (05/20/2020)

What are your farmer’s markets doing in response to the outbreak? Here is a list of various markets throughout the state and their operating status (as of 05/20). We cannot cover every market and outlet in the state, so please make sure to check the status of your outlets if they are not listed below.

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7) Financial Help

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

The USDA announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This program has about $ 2.1b to directly assist specialty crop farmers in the USA. Please read the Farm Bureau’s take on CFAP.

We recommend highly that you monitor and record your losses on a weekly basis!

Golden LEAF

CARES-Act:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Important Note: 

We have taken note of some confusion over the PPP and how it affects farmers specifically, so please take note of the following points: 

Other Funding and Relief Possibilities

Resources from previous updates:

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8) Alternative Sales

  • First, talk to your farmers market to determine what resources they have available to you. Many markets throughout NC have already developed market solutions for their vendors. Please also see this infosheet on handling COVID-19 at farmers markets.
  • Consider a safe and healthy U-Pick option.  Take a look at the COVID-19 FAQ for U-Pick Farms document for helpful information that will keep you and your clientele protected from virus transmission. A guide on how to run a UPick operation during the COVID-19 pandemic is also available, and you can find it in the March 29 NCSU Extension COVID-19 daily farmers update.
  • Set up alternative pick-up sites or coordinate delivery services. Establish a pick-up site that customers can go to each week to pick up meat and produce. Or, if you have the capacity, consider delivering door-to-door. Get your farm on the North Carolina map of farms offering pick-ups, curbside stands, and more.
  • Take online or call-in orders. There are plenty of free, online ordering form services (see below). Farmers can also consider creating a google form or taking calls for pre-orders.
  • Communicate your alternative sales methods to customers. Communication can take place on your website, the market’s website, your social media, and/or email chains. Make sure to clearly communicate what products you’re offering, how people can place orders, how people can pay, the deadline for online orders, and where they can pick up their purchases. It’s also important to be up-front about how you are following food safety protocols.
  • Always follow health department guidance. Whether you continue to sell at a farmers market or if you’ve developed an alternative sales method, it is important to follow health and safety guidelines. Ensure that people interacting with customers in-person are aware of the precautions they need to take and are well supplied with the necessary sanitation supplies. See the Food Safety section for more info.

Important Resources

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9) Automation / Mechanization

Remote farming solutions and automated farming solutions can not only safe money, in a pandemic, when labor is sacred, possibly sick and hard to find, some solution might help to keep your business operationable. Several Ag-Tech Start-up companies offer remote watering, harvesting, and nutrition monitoring solutions. North Carolina has one of the highest densities of Ag Tech Companies and AgTech Clusters. We highly recommend for you to take advantage of this close proximity of innovation. Look at the solutions they have and evaluate if they make sense for you and your operation, during this pandemic and beyond. Possible solutions could be: Remote watering systems; Remote disease detection systems; Harvest worker GPS tracking and other solutions will be possible.

Tractor-based mechanized tasks are other ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on your farm, and possibly to save costs on a long-run. Mechanized hedging, flower and leaf pulling, tillage, and mechanized harvesting will require usually less labor.

Important Resources

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10) N.C. Cooperative Extension County Centers Update (05/20/2020)

Alamance Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed to walk-ins as a preventive health measure. You can still reach us by phone and email.

Alexander Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19 our local office has been closed. You can still reach agents by calling the office number or by email.

Alleghany Co. Cooperative Extension Center our office has reopened with social distancing guidelines in place. We are still able to assist you by virtual methods if you prefer

Anson Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed for walk-ins and operating with limited staff. Please call or email for assistance.

Ashe Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 protocol, the office is closed to the public. They are available for phone calls at (336)-846-5850. 

Avery Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19 protocol, N.C. Cooperative Extension-Avery County Center has postponed all scheduled events, meetings and programs.

Beaufort Co. Cooperative Extension Center we will be continuing to practice social distancing.

Bertie Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19 the office is temporarily closed. However, the staff is still available to assist you. Please call at (252)794-5317.

Bladen Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19 the office is closed to the public until further notice. You can contact them via phone, text, or email. 

Brunswick Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to coronavirus concerns staff are required to limit personal interactions. Please CALL or EMAIL the office or individual staff members.

Buncombe Co. Cooperative Extension Center Office closed until further notice. For assistance during this time, click on the “Meet Our Staff” tab in the webpage to find the appropriate email contact.

Burke Co. Cooperative Extension Center is limiting access to the public, except by appointment. Agents are available via phone and email at this time. 

Cabarrus Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed for COVID-19 precautions. While closed to the public, staff are still available by phone and email. 

Caldwell Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to concerns associated with COVID-19 Cooperative Extension is closed to the public. Contact them at 757.1290 or tina_lovejoy@ncsu.edu. 

Camden Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus), office access is by appointment only. Please call 252-331-7639 for more information. 

Carteret Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19 concerns the building on the community college campus has been locked. If you need assistance, please call 252-222-6352.

Caswell Co. Cooperative Extension Center The office is temporarily closed to the public. Agents are still working and available. Please call 336-694-4158 for assistance.

Catawba Co. Cooperative Extension Center Community members are encouraged to reach out to Extension Agents for assistance via email and phone.

Chatham Co. Cooperative Extension Center Community members are encouraged to continue to reach out to Extension professionals for technical assistance via EMAIL and PHONE.

Cherokee Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19, visitors are not allowed in the office but staff can be contacted by (828) 837-2210 or by email.

Chowan Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed to the public. Staff are available by phone or email for assistance, (252)482-6585.

Clay Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19, visitors are not allowed in the office but staff can be contacted at 828-389-6305 or by email.

Columbus Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19, beginning 3/31/20, the office will be closed to the public. All classes and meetings are cancelled until further notice. Please contact their office by emailing individual staff members, or by calling. Please see “Meet our Staff” tab for contact information.

Cumberland Co. Cooperative Extension Center is currently closed for COVID-19 precautions. Cumberland County Ag Center is currently closed to staff and all visitors. For assistance please call 910-321-6860

Currituck Co. Cooperative Extension Center office is closed due to COVID-19, however they are still available to assist you, please call 232-2261

Dare Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed to the public until further notice. Staff are still available via phone or email.

Davidson Co. Cooperative Extension Center is open/operating with one agent per day on site, practicing social distancing, and COVID-19 risk reduction

Davie Co. Cooperative Extension Center effective 3/31 is closed to the public, and all employees are working remotely. Please call their number for assistance.

Durham Co. Cooperative Extension Center our building is currently closed, but are still here for you! Email, phone, and virtual services available as noted in the news article on their website.

EBCI center is closed due to COVID-19. For help, please check the “Meet the Staff” tab to find phone numbers and emails.

Edgecombe Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the building is closed to the public. Staff will be ready to help you via phone or email

Forsyth Co. Cooperative Extension Center currently closed for COVID-19 precautions. Staff is working remotely. Please visit “Meet Our Staff” on their webpage to contact the appropriate agent.

Franklin Co. Cooperative Extension Center at this time all programs, classes, and events are postponed until further notice. The office is still open daily with limited staff.

Gates Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to the COVID 19 precautions our office is currently closed. Please email or call 252-357-1400 for assistance.

Granville Co. Cooperative Extension Center our center is closed to walk-ins. Please call or email to contact an Agent.

Guilford Co. Cooperative Extension Center office is temporarily closed to the public. Staff are still working and available to help you by phone, email, and virtually.

Halifix Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 restrictions the office is closed. You may email any agent for assistance or call (252) 583-5161 for assistance or to reach any agent.

Harnett Co Cooperative Extension Center Harnett County Government Buildings are closed for public access. You can continue to reach the center by email or phone.

Haywood Co. Cooperative Extension Center offices are currently closed to the public. Click on the “Meet Our Staff” tab to find staff emails and phone numbers.

Henderson Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 virus. Staff are still available to serve you by phone or email.

Hertford Co. Cooperative Extension due to COVID-19 precautions the office is currently closed. Please email or call 252-358-7822

Hoke Co. Cooperative Extension Center offices are closed to the public starting 3/23. Staff may still be reached by email.

Hyde Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the office is closed until further notice. Staff is still available via phone or email.

Iredell Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19, in-person programming is cancelled and limited public access. Call 704-873-0507 to speak to staff or email agents directly. 

Jackson Co. Cooperative Extension Center office closed due to COVID-19. Contact Rob Hawk at 828-736-6919 for more information.

Johnston Co. Cooperative Extension Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but many events have been postponed or changed. Please check the website or call for updates.

Jones Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 concerns the office is closed to the public until further notice. You can still contact agents via phone, texts, or emails.

Lee Co. Cooperative Extension Center the office is closed for walk-ins and operating with limited staff. You may call or email for assistance.

Lenoir Co. Cooperative Extension Center beginning 3/23, the office is closed to the public and open to appointment only. Call for an appointment.

Madison Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed to the public access Please call 828.649.2411 or obtain resources on the website. Staff can be contacted by email.

Martin Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed due to COVID-19. However staff are still available to assist you, please call 252-789-4370

McDowell Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed until further notice. For assistance during this time, click the Meet Our Staff tab to find the appropriate email contact.

Mecklenburg Co. Cooperative Extension Center is currently closed for COVID-19 precautions. All in-person activities are now online, canceled, or postponed until May 20. Please contact staff via email if possible.

Mitchell Co. Cooperative Extension Center is following COVID-19 precautions, the offices are closed. Staff are available by phone and email. Appointments by phone only.

Montgomery Co. Cooperative Extension Center  following COVID-19 precautions and County Government Regulations our offices will be open to the public Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m.

Moore Co. Cooperative Extension Center staff will be accessible via email or phone. Staff contact info: https://moore.ces.ncsu.edu/people/ 

Nash Co. Cooperative Extension Center to assist with social distancing staff asks that you communicate via email or call for further assistance. 252-459-9810

New Hanover Co. Cooperative Extension Center Our office is temporarily closed in accordance with NHC and NC Stay at Home Executive Order. The gardens are open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.

Northampton Co. Cooperative Extension Center encourages citizens to conduct business via phone and/or email until further notice.

Onslow Co. Cooperative Extension face-to-face interactions have been limited effective immediately. Contact staff by email or phone to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Orange Co. Cooperative Extension Center office currently closed for COVID-19 precautions and will stay closed until further notice. Please contact agents for additional assistance.

Pamlico Co. Cooperative Extension Center is now open to the public again. Please use social distancing when coming in and please stay home if you are sick.

Pasquotank Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed to the public. For questions or to speak with anyone in the Pasquotank Office please call 252-338-3954.

Person Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 the office is no longer open to the public. Staff are still available to assist by phone, please call for assistance.

Pitt Co. Cooperative Extension Center is open by appointment ONLY. Please call or email for assistance.

Polk Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 precautions, there is a 1 client limit in our office. You will be asked to wait outside until it is your turn to be helped.

Rockingham Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all scheduled in-person events, meetings, and programs have been canceled/postponed until further notice.

Rowan Co. Cooperative Extension Center In response to COVID-19, Rowan County Cooperative Extension is operating with limited staff in the office. Please call 704-216-8970 first.

Rutherford Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed to visitors. Feel free to call or email staff. Call 287-6060 regarding plant sale.

Sampson Co. Cooperative Extension Center is closed to the general public for COVID-19 precautions. Please call for assistance. 

Scotland Co. Cooperative Extension Center Due to the Global Pandemic, the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the office has been closed. Staff is accepting clients by appointment only.

Stanly Co. Cooperative Extension Center WE ARE OPEN as of May 11th. Following COVID-19 precautions, our offices will serve one client at a time. All staff available by phone/email.

Stokes Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all scheduled in-person events, meetings, and programs have been cancelled/postponed until further notice.

Surry Co. Cooperative Extension Center all extension related events, meetings, workshops, etc. have been canceled or postponed until further notice.

Swain Co. Cooperative Extension Center office closed due to COVID-19. Contact Rob Hawk at 828-736-6919 for more information. 

Transylvania Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 recommendations, all programming has been postponed or moved to online until further notice. The local center is open.

Tyrrell Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the office is closed until further notice. Staff are still available via phone or email during normal office hours. 

Union Co. Cooperative Extension Center our office is open M-F 8 a.m. – 12 noon by appointment only. Please see “Meet our Staff” for contact info to schedule your appointments.

Vance Co. Cooperative Extension Center the office is currently closed to the public. Agents are still working and available. Please call 438-8188 for assistance.

Wake Co. Cooperative Extension Center please reach out to us at 919-250-1101 or by email to connect with our staff.

Warren Co. Cooperative Extension Center  is currently closed for COVID-19 precautions. Our staff is working remotely, agents are still available to assist you, please call 252-257-3640

Washington Co. Cooperative Extension Center office is currently closed to the public until further notice. Staff are still available via phone and email.

Watauga Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 protocol Watauga Extension is closed to visitors. However, you may still reach us by phone or email

Wayne Co. Cooperative Extension Center all in-person events have been cancelled or postponed for the immediate future. Contact the office with any questions you may have!

Wilkes Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 protocol, please call ahead before visiting the office or call/email staff members. Check the “Meet Our Staff” tab.

Wilson Co. Cooperative Extension Center Some events have been changed. Check this site or call for updates.

Yadkin Co. Cooperative Extension Center all extension related events are cancelled and the office is closed until further notice. Agents may be reached by phone or email.

Yancey Co. Cooperative Extension Center due to COVID-19 the office is no longer open to the public. Staff are still available to assist by phone, please call for assistance.

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11) Agri-tourism and Viticulture Resources

We recommend that all vineyard, winery and agri-tourism managers and owners keep records of issues that arise due to the pandemic. In order to claim possible assistance later on, it is important to have a proven record of issues now!

TBB and Handsanitizer Production:

Please see this page of the American Craft Spirits Assoc. for all resources and forms needed to produce Hand Sanitizer

ABC Resources:

Important Resources

Department of Labor:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

Other Resource Pages:

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12) How to cope with Stress

  • Farming is one of the most stressful occupations, even in the best of times. Budget is tight, crops fail, equipment breaks, weather is unpredictable, as is the crop market price, and labor is short. These are things every farmer has to deal with. Farming is hard and often under-appreciated. However, the changes that COVID-19 brings can seem more overwhelming than usual. And if you are facing new problems during the pandemic, that very well can cause excessive stress and anxiety, leading to a cascade of negative thoughts and sometimes acts of self-harm. The good news is that there are many warning signs you can catch early, before you or someone you love gets to this point. Often stress levels rise, and can reach toxic levels. While everyone copes with stress differently, there are some tell-tell signs of toxic stress: 
    • Changes in physical health: trouble sleeping; no appetite; headaches; stomach distress; excessive fatigue; muscle cramps and aches
    • Changes in behavior: not doing usual activities (ex. church), not taking good care of farm or home; missing important meetings; increased substance use (including excess drinking)
    • Changes in thinking: trouble concentrating or making decisions, being more frequently critical over small things; negative thoughts about self that won’t go away
    • Changes in emotions: loss of enthusiasm, anxiety, depression, sense of hopelessness, not able to feel close to loved ones

    If you or someone you love checks several of the above-mentioned boxes, it is important to act now and find ways to cope before things could get worse. Some simple daily life measure might actually help: 

    • Physically: Eat three good meals a day. Make sure you got the nutrition you need. Limit your caffeine intake and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Stay physically active!
    • Mentally: try to plan ahead, and accept that there is a pandemic. Set priorities, and don’t be afraid to say “no” to non-priority activities. Set realistic daily goals. Catch yourself if you fall into negative thoughts (“I always mess up”) and replace those thoughts by remembering times you have solved complex problems and been successful.
    • Emotionally: This is important: If you do not feel well, reach out to those people you trust! Talking to your family, doctor or faith leader can be extremely helpful. 

    However, with COVID 19, external factors can just pile up and cause more and more stress, even if you do all the above mentioned things. If stress is preventing you or a loved one from performing daily tasks, a counselor or therapist often is the best solution. We have listed some resources below. 

    If you don’t know how to find one, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) (you don’t have to be suicidal or harm yourself to call),  or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat. 

    Therapists and Lifeline are always confidential, and can be great help and can save a life. You do not have to be in crisis to be connected to a trained counselor in your area and can talk with them to find services.

    Those information were provided by Anna Scheyett, PhD, MSW, amscheye@uga.edu

    Important Resources:

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Last update: 05/20/2020
Mark Hoffmann (Small Fruits Extension Specialist; mark.hoffmann@ncsu.edu)
Emma Volk (Research Technician, Small Fruits Research Group; evolk@ncsu.edu)
Xiaonan Shi (MS Student, Small Fruits Research Group; xshi8@ncsu.edu)
Rania Hassan (Horticulture Program Fruit Extension Group; rhhassan@ncsu.edu)
Amanda Lay (MS Student, Small Fruits Research Group; amlay@ncsu.edu) 

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