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CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Nahid,

I hope this edition of Grower’s Toolbox finds you and your family safe, healthy, and socially distanced. Here at CFSA, we've been busy doing everything we can to make sure our farmers have the support they need to navigate through this crisis. If you have not already done so, please visit our blog, to stay informed on programs and actions we hope will help you do that.

One program is the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the economic rescue package passed by Congress. Funding, provided in the form of a loan, can be used to cover payroll, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Loans will be forgiven if employers use at least 75% of the loan to cover payroll costs, maintain the number of full-time employees as of Feb 15, 2020, and do not decrease salaries and wages more than 25% for any employee who made less than $100,000 in 2019.

How Can CFSA Better Support Farmers?
We're increasing efforts to support farmers through COVID-19. The more we know about what you need, the better our ability to help address those needs. Will you help us understand the economic and production impacts of the pandemic for your farm?

If you have added on-farm pickups, home delivery, or online pre-orders to accommodate for social distancing, please contact Mary Beth, who is managing our "Where to Buy Local While Social Distancing" interactive map (below) to help consumers source local food.

If you need help transitioning your operation to accommodate for new physical distancing measures, please contact Krista, CFSA Market Access Coordinator.

On behalf of everyone at CFSA, I would like to thank you, our farmers, for everything you're doing to continue to bring fresh, healthy food to our tables. Please, stay SAFE!


Karen McSwain, CFSA Associate Executive Director for Programs

PS - We strongly believe that #FarmersMarketsAreGroceryStores and are doing everything we can to keep them open. If yours has closed or is considering closing, see our policy team's COVID-19 Farmers Market Advocacy Toolkit on what you can do.


Farmers Adapting to Keep Up with COVID-19 Demand

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a climate of unpredictability and inconsistency for millions around the globe and farmers are no exception. Yet, amid all the uncertainty, many growers at small farms are discovering new opportunities. As the supply of produce, eggs, meat, and other staples dwindle at grocery stores across the country, consumers are turning to their local farmers to feed their families.

Last week, we spoke with a few farmers in the Triangle-region of North Carolina who are rising to the challenge as they quickly adapt their business models to keep up with the demand. Continue reading over on our blog.

Got Two Minutes to Make Sure Your Farm Is Counted?
The National Agriculture Statistic Service is collecting contact information in an effort to create the most diverse and complete outreach list for the next Census of Agriculture.

This year, they're especially interested in reaching the following farm types: small, specialty, urban, organic, minority operated, young and beginning farmers, women operated, those with military service, aquaculture, goat, sheep, and equine. 

No matter how large or small, be sure that you and your farm are counted and heard.


Food Safety Best Practices & COVID-19 Considerations
Handwashing station at market

If you are GAP certified or are following food safety best practices, then you are already protecting yourself, your workers, and your customers as best as we know how from the spread of this new viral threat. However, you need to add precautions specific to this virus that are coming down from your local departments of health, the CDC, and the FDA, such as social distancing. There are differences between COVID-19 and those foodborne viruses, which means you should follow slightly different protocols. You have the responsibility to stay up to date on the quickly emerging information and recommendations.

In the post, read about:
  • Best Practices for Avoiding Transmission
  • COVID-19 Is Not a Foodborne Illness
  • COVID-19 DOES Survive on Un-Disinfected Surfaces for a Somewhat Significant Amount of Time
  • Recommendations for Cleaning and Sanitizing
  • Resources to Check Often
  • CFSA’s Upcoming Food Safety Webinar Series: Navigating the GAP Audit

Did you know that we've been creating Expert Tips for nearly a decade?
Don't miss our
Expert Tip index!

Other COVID-19-Food Safety News

When Should You Sanitize vs Clean vs Disinfect? 
There are differences and they do matter. Our NC local produce safety coordinator Chloe created this handy chart for you to know when to do what during this pandemic.
For a high-resolution version, download it here.
USDA Allows Some Farms a 60-day Extension on their Audit Certificate
The USDA, through state departments of agriculture, are still conducting food safety audits (GAP certifications) in order to keep our food supply chain moving.

That said, the USDA just announced a short-term extension on audit certificates for farms who are already certified but that the certification was set to end in April or May. 

FSMA Related Inspections Delayed
The FDA has established a temporary suspension of all food safety inspections—including produce safety rule inspections—until further notice. States that have cooperative agreements with the FDA are not conducting routine inspections under those agreements.

It is still possible for a state to conduct inspections (e.g., under its own authority) if an outbreak involving produce occurs, etc.; however, for the most part, and until the suspension is lifted, states are not conducting produce inspections. 



  • Monday, April 13 | 2-3:30 p.m. | Webinar
  • Monday, April 20 | 2-3:30 p.m. | Webinar
  • Monday, April 27 | 2-3:30 p.m. | Webinar
  • Monday, May 4 | 2-3:30 p.m. | Webinar
  • Monday, May 11 | 2-3:30 p.m. | Webinar
This 5-part webinar series is for farmers seeking a GAP audit by the USDA Harmonized GAP Standard. It replaces our in-person, day-long workshops that have been canceled due to the pandemic.

2020 Sustainable Agriculture Conference - Save the Date!
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8 | Durham, NC

Want more? Stay abreast with CFSA events by subscribing to our events-only monthly digest, The Training Ground.
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The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is on a mission to bring local, organic food to your table from a farmer who shares your values – and we can’t do it without you. Together we are building a regional food system that is good for consumers, growers, and the land.
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