COVID-19 Resources for Rutherford County Agricultural Producers

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With developments that we have seen as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to stay up to date on best practices in regards to farming and distribution of products. The Food Safety website provides up to date information about best practices regarding consumables and various settings such as farm stands and markets. 

Information:

Center for Environmental Farming Systems COVID-19 updates and updates from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. 

NC State Extension Small Fruits site provides daily COVID-19 farmers updates for small fruits and includes portals for muscadine, blueberry, strawberry, grape, and blackberry & raspberry production. 

Grants:

RAFI grant: Emergency-relief mini-grants of $500 for NC Farmers who have felt financial difficulties due to COVID-19. Applications are due April 26th at 6 p.m. “The grant…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.”

Farmer Relief Fund: The grant by Farmer Relief Fund is for up to $1,000 in aid. “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.”Initial application due April 23rd. 

Loans:

Paycheck Protection Program and guidance for Farm Credit System institutions for making loans under the program. PPP was designed as COVID-19 relief for small businesses to aid in payroll and other needs during the pandemic.

Mountain Bizworks is a nonprofit that helps small businesses in our area. Their resources page on COVID-19 relief provides application links and more information about loans and other assistance programs including SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. 

Small Business Center Network: This website provides valuable information for small businesses about understanding Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance, and small business “Paycheck Protection Program” (PPP) which were created to combat the economic effects of COVID-19 on small businesses. Their webpage also provides webinars and business counseling. SBA Loans Overview is a brief summary of loans that they have created along with a visual chart comparing the three. 

Labor:

NC Farmlink is a resource that has been matching farm owners with those seeking land and is now able to link farms in need of labor with those looking for work.