Coronavirus and COVID-19 Resources


Agritourism Guidelines During COVID

The State has moved away from industry-specific guidance to the extent possible in order to be more simplified  This link has the requirements on page 1 that cover all industries, but then follows with some  Q & A’s for specific activities and business types.

Are businesses still required to post signage?

Yes. The Safe Activities Regulations still require establishments to post signage at the entrances of their premises.

You can access additional information on state signage requirements at reopeningri.com/signage-resources.  As of today, June 22, 2021, Reopening RI States: At a minimum, all organizations are required to post at least one of the following three masking posters at establishments entrances based on the masking policy they choose to have in place. The implementation and enforcement of these policies is at the discretion of each organization.

Visit ReOpeningRI.com for more Vital Workplace Resources.  Please reach out to us at rifarm@rifb.org if you have any questions we may be able to help with.


Bi-Weekly Local Agriculture/Food and COVID-19 Discussion

Join the RI Division of Agriculture and partner organizations to discuss topical COVID-19 resources, concerns, and other relevant information to support our agricultural sector in this difficulty time.

Calls have moved to monthly by Zoom, call information is below which stays the same each call.  Next call is Friday, June 25, 2021 at 1 pm.   Check back for updates on the monthly meeting date.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/91833528799

Meeting ID: 918 3352 8799

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)


GAP Certification

If you are reading this, you have likely heard of the RI GAP program and know that there is a system in place and support for growers in Rhode Island that may need to undergo a RI GAP audit. We are well into the growing season, but we have developed  a system to facilitate participation in this program for this season.

You can learn more about the RI GAP program by:
1. Visiting The RI Produce Safety Portal
2. Reviewing RI GAP Certification During Covid-19
3. Contacting Ananda Fraser:
Produce Safety Program Coordinator
RI DEM – Division of Agriculture
401-537-8093
Ananda.Fraser@dem.ri.gov


Need to apply for or renew your pesticide license? 

While pesticide license training is normally done cooperatively with URI, DEM will be doing testing only until on-campus classes resume. Testing is available for all pesticide applicator licenses and categories. There is currently no list of dates as of yet, but exams will be scheduled based on demand.   Study material can be made available for pick up at DEM’s Agriculture office.  For more information on how to take your pesticide license test or to get study materials, please contact  Harold.Puckett@dem.ri.gov or Kimberly.Lavoie@dem.ri.gov.


FMCSA Extends Waiver in Response to the
COVID-19 Emergency –

For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles

FMCSA has extended, until September 30, 2020, a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Agency has initiated this action in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


Coronavirus Financial Relief Options from SBA

In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.


Rhode Island Food Policy Council
COVID-19 Links

In response to the spread of COVID-19, the Rhode Island Food Policy Council has aggregated information on available food access and food business resources and opportunities. 


CFAP Webinars for Ag Producers 

Webinar Dates & Topics:

These FSA Webinars are all completed.  Archived webinars may be found at the above link as well as here.


Farm Credit East Resource Hub 

Providing information relevant to Northeast Ag and customers of Farm Credit East.  Includes information regarding the Paycheck Protection Plan, CARES Act basics, tax planning , payroll, webinars and reports on COVID-19.


Rhode Island Farmers: Become an
authorized SNAP retailer

Rhode Island farmers: you can open a new market for your business while helping your less fortunate neighbors during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to apply to be an authorized retailer to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — formerly Food Stamp Program) benefits. This will allow you to accept SNAP benefits at your retail farm stand, CSA, and through home delivery. Click here for the Guidebook.


Advice for Ag Transport Across State Lines

At this time, there is no indication farmers are being stopped while performing ag operations across state lines.  However, to be proactive, we are providing the following using the link HERE and from the above title:

Letter for Farms to fill out and carry identifying themselves as critical industry

Letters providing Guidance for Ag operations in all Northeast states.  We advise you carry the letter(s) from any state you are traveling to/through for your farm business.

In addition, please use this link for Interstate Livestock Shipping Requirements


CDC- COVID-19
RIDOH- COVID-19


Official Guidance on Food and Agriculture
as Critical Industry

from the Dept. of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

The link above provides guidance and identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.

Printable letter for official guidance (March 28 update).


USDA Issues Emergency Provisions for Milk Dumping and Supply/Demand Flexibility
Due to COVID-19

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is prepared to take actions within the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) to facilitate the disposal of milk or provide flexibility to meet increased retail demand due to changes in supply and demand from COVID-19. Actions will initially be for the time period of March-May, as needed. Any requests should be made to the local Market Administrator.


USDA Rural Development takes immediate action to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

• Beginning immediately, through July 31, 2020, USDA Business and Industry Loan Guarantees (B&I) and Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Guaranteed lenders may assist borrowers experiencing temporary cash flow issues by deferring payments for a period no longer than 120 days. The lender must notify The Agency in writing of any payment deferments. Written notification to the Agency will meet the standard for concurrence until July 31, 2020. A response from the Agency is not required. This guidance applies to ALL borrowers that had a current repayment status as of March 1, 2020.

• RBCS intermediary borrowers continue to have authority to service loan portfolios independent of USDA. Intermediary borrowers participating in these programs may approve loan payment deferrals may to their borrowers without USDA approval. These programs are:

 Intermediary Relending Program (IRP)

 Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG)

 Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDL and REDG)

 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)

• For existing Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) and Rural Economic Development Loan (REDL) borrowers, the Agency is committed to maintaining well-capitalized intermediary lenders and will work with you on loan servicing requests on a case-by-case basis to make sure you remain a pillar in our rural business communities.

EXTENSION OF APPLICATION DEADLINES

USDA is extending the application window for the following programs:

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

• USDA extended the application deadline for the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program to no later than April 15, 2020.

• USDA extended the application deadline for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to April 15, 2020


Local Producers, Farmers Markets Play Important Role in Feeding Population During Coronavirus Crisis

There’s a rush on food and essentials at stores, both large and small. Many shelves are bare but some aisles are still packed, as people pick over what remains after panic-induced hoarding. But the thing to note is the fact that grocery stores are still open, still peddling what they can — though you’ll likely be hard-pressed to find pasta, frozen vegetables, cleaning products, and toilet paper.

So what role can farmers markets and local producers play during the coronavirus pandemic? A big one.