On Tuesday, June 9, Western Growers, United Fresh Produce Association and the American Frozen Food Institute held an industry stakeholder discussion to review COVID-19 guidance for produce operations.

Click here to access a recording of the call.

The three organizations have teamed up to develop COVID-19 guidance for the produce industry, which is a companion document to the recently-released guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Cory Lunde

Of the $1.4 billion in relief checks already provided to more than 80,000 farmers and ranchers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, less than $25 million (less than 2%) has been allocated to specialty crop producers.

As part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to provide $16 billion in direct payments. As of June 8, the breakdown in assistance is as follows:

Cory Lunde

Western Growers, United Fresh and the American Frozen Food Institute have teamed up to develop COVID-19 guidance for produce operations.

This guidance document provides useful advice and recommendations to help farm owners and operators prepare for seasonal operations including onboarding of seasonal workers, field and facility procedures, and shared/communal housing and transportation to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting national emergency declarations, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Internal Revenue Service issued rules and guidance that mandate extensions of certain timeframes for participants covered under group health plans and allow plans to ease restrictions on some Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) plan regulations.

Chardae Heim

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