Reports estimate that local and regional food supply systems could lose up to $3.1 billion just between March and May this year. The Rhode Island DEM Division of Agriculture has guidance for farmers, farm stands, and markets on their COVID-19 resource page for agriculture, including grant and loan programs for farmers. Below is a listing of other resources for farmers during this time of uncertainty an business instability.
1. The Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC)is aggregating information on available food access and food business resources and opportunities. It its updated daily. Click here.
2. RI-DEM has compiled a list of COVID-19 farmer resources from produce safety guidelines to business resources and tax relief. Click here. RI-DEM has postponed the Specialty Crop Grant deadline to April 15th, RI-DEM Farmer’s Market applications have also been extended to April 15th.
3. The Rhode Island Farm Bureau has aggregated links in response to covid-19. Click here for RIRB resources.
4. American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund AFT has launched Farmer Relief Fund that will award farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each. Eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers, defined 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. Apply online here.
5. Emergency Mini-grants from Food Animal Concerns Trust FACT is offering emergency mini-grants for livestock and poultry farmers whose businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers may request of up to $500 to help them to transition to an online or alternative sales strategy, or for other projects that would help their farm business to maintain sales during this crisis. Apply online here.
6. Spring Funding Opportunities through USDA. Our friends at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition compiled this info – check out upcoming funding opportunities for farmers, non-profits, and universities here.
7. Building Farm Resilience in this crisis – Cornell Small Farms Program recently launched a curated resource page to support the farming community.
8. A Readiness Assessment for Continuity of Farm Business – This open-source checklist developed by PASA and Penn State Extension helps farmers develop a business continuity plan to adapt to and support contingency planning during the pandemic.
9. Other Farm Resources – There are many other regional farm organizations with excellent resources for farmers and food producers throughout New England, here are a few:
– Land for Good COVID-19 Resource Page
– Farm to Institution New England COVID-19 Resources
– UVM’s Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to COVID-19
10. How the CARES Act will support relief to farmers – keep up to date with federal relief efforts through regularly analysis from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog and action alerts.