We are working to provide our members with the most reliable and relevant information about the quickly evolving COVID-19 crisis. Below
are links to resources that provide updated information and guidance on a wide range of issues related to the virus. In addition, we recommend that you monitor information from your local and state health officials. As the COVID-19 public health emergency unfolds, your concerns matter to us. Please complete this one-question survey to help us best assist you. Dairy Stream podcast: Focusing on #COVID-19
Employee considerations for responding to COVID-19 From Michael Best: Crisis communications, data privacy & protection/remote work issues, employee law, employee law/OSHA, federal regulations, supply chain disruption & contract performance issues - Please do not redistribute this guide and only refer to the link when sharing. This content will be periodically updated due to the rapidly evolving situation so employers have the most up to date and relevant information.
Congress has now passed three COVID-19 response packages, with the most recent and significant package passing on Friday, March 27. There are strong reports that there will be fourth and fifth packages to provide additional relief, if needed, and address specific needs of different industries. The Senate is expected to return on April 20, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the Senate will return sooner if necessary.
March 27 – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
This third relief plan is a $2.2 trillion, 880-page measure to address the economic impacts of coronavirus. The bill contains direct payments to taxpayers, unemployment benefits, federally guaranteed loans to small businesses, among other provisions. There are several important provisions targeted at agriculture, one of which specifically names dairy producers. Dairy & Agriculture
$9.5 billion to assist livestock producers, including dairy, as well as specialty crops and producers operating in localized markets. There are no further details on how that money would be specifically distributed at this time.
$14.5 billion in replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) which could be used in several different methods.
$15.8 billion in funding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) most of which is slated to cover food costs and any spike in increases in SNAP enrollment due to COVID-19
$8.8 billion in child nutrition programs, including the school lunch program
$450 million in the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
Additional funds to cover costs associated ensure keeping processes and inspections in the food supply chain operating
Eligibility for farmers and other ag businesses to receive up to $10 million in small interruption loans through the Small Business Administration. Some uses for funds, such as payroll, rent or mortgage and utility bills, could be eligible for forgiveness.
Headlining the bill are the direct assistance payments. An adult would receive $1,200 and children $500. The amounts begin to phase out at $75,000 in AGI per individuals and $150,000 for couples. Payments are reduced by $5 per $100 over those limits. March 18 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The second phase legislation furthered responded to the growing health crisis as well as enacted provisions focused on mitigating the economic challenges for people in fighting the disease within their families. Over $1 billion in funding for food security and assistance programs with additional flexibility for USDA to waive certain nutritional requirements within those programs meant to help getting food products into the hands that need it most. Specifically:
$500 million for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
$400 million for the food assistance program in distributing to food banks
$100 million for nutrition assistance in the US territories
Additional $250 million for food assistance in the Dept. of Health and Human Services Aging and Disability Services Program
Employer provided paid sick or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. A refundable tax credit for businesses to offset leave requirements under the bill. Generally, employers must provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave for someone unable to work either because they themselves are sick or quarantined or they have to care for a member of their family. The Department of Labor (DOL) has provided information here. More guidance is expected to come. Other provisions:
Greater unemployment insurance including state aid to help processing and paying insurance
Additional Medicaid funding
Guarantee of free COVID-19 testing for all
March 5 – Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Act
The first emergency spending package devoted a total of $8.3 billion dollars mainly to the agencies charged in ensuring preventive measures and care for stricken people.
April 2: DBA/Edge members-only webinar: Federal response to COVID-19 & its impact on agriculture