AG ONE Newsletter March 27, 2020

Dear Reader:

Hopefully, this issue of AG ONE Newsletter will contain information of value to you and your families given the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.  Most recently, PSCFO provided updated lists of cancellations and postponements of agricultural activities.  By now, most changes are known but AG ONE Newsletter will publish those that may not have made the previous lists.

Sincerely, Vince Phillips    ******************************************

~  Updates from the PA Department of Health on COVID-19, guidance on keeping safe, etc. For the most accurate and timely information regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

List of essential businesses (“life-sustaining”) was updated March 24https://www.scribd.com/document/452553026/UPDATED-2-30pm-March-24-2020-Industry-Operation-Guidance

NOTE:  Agricultural activities are still on the life sustaining industry list.  This means that they may continue physical operations.  Following is a partial list of farming activities:  Oilseed and grain farming; Vegetable farming; Fruit and tree nut farming; Greenhouse, Nursery and floriculture production, Cattle ranching and farming; Swine farming; Poultry and egg production, Sheep and goat farming; Animal aquaculture; and “support for crop and animal activities”.  Food manufacturing may continue physical operations.

Logging was recently not permitted but is now approved. Also permitted are sawmills, veneer, plywood, and engineered wood product manufacturing, pulp, paper and paperboard mills.  On the approved list are pesticide and fertilizer manufacturing and farm product raw material merchant wholesalers as well as trucking.

~ PA Department of Agriculture Lists Resources. 

  • The Center for Dairy Excellence listed a number of resources for dairy farmers including guidance documents regarding the coronavirus.  Download COVID-19 guidelines for your farm.  The March 27 email urges that farmers have written contingency plans to ensure that they can continue to operate in the midst of this crisis.  Details: Melissa Anderson at 717-636-0779. manderson@centerfordairyexcellence.org
  • A guidance letter was sent to PA veterinarians March 16.  It included instructions on what vets should tell clients including that there is no evidence to suggest animals play a role in the transmission of this virus.  https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
  • Farmers’ Markets:  a farmer’s market is relocating temporarily due to COVID-19, the PA Department of Agriculture will not need to issue a new food safety license.

Insurance Commissioner Issues Notice to Insurance Companies.  Because of increased unemployment due to COVID-19, insurance companies are encouraged by the PA Insurance Department to show forbearance in policyholders’ difficult financial situations.  Consistent with prudent insurance practices, insurers should consider:  relaxing due dates for premium payments; extending grace periods; waiving late fees and penalties; and allowing for payment plans.

NOTES:  This applies to commercial and personal property/casualty, accident/health, and life policies.  Policyholders have the responsibility to contact the insurer and insurance producers `to explain their individual difficulties in meeting payment schedules.

A second notice to insurance companies specifies that there should NOT be any fees, deductibles, or out-of-pocket costs connected with getting a COVIS-19 test.

CANCELLATIONS & POSTPONEMENTS                                                                           Penn State Extension announced that Extension events will be cancelled until May 15.  To learn more about Penn State’s event cancelations and response to COVID-19, please see the following link: https://extension.psu.edu/coronavirus-information

  • House Majority Agriculture & Rural Affairs Chair Marty Causer (R-McKean/Potter/Cameron) and Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) report that State and Federal income tax filing deadlines have been changed to from April 15 to July 15. Taxpayers are still encouraged to file sooner rather than later, especially if they are expecting a refund. Online filings are able to be processed more quickly. — The deadline for seniors and people with disabilities to apply for the 2019 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been extended to Dec. 31. Click here for more information.
  • The March 31 PA Horse Racing Commission meeting is rescheduled for April 28.
  • PA’s primary election has been rescheduled for June 2 (from April 28).
  • The return date for farmers in Adams, Franklin, York, and Lancaster Counties taking a Penn State survey on conservation practices has been extended until May 1.  The link for more information about the survey and to fill it out online is:  http://src.survey.psu.edu/farmbmp/.  Details: Matt Royer, mzr154@psu.edu.
  • Pesticide applicator exam sessions have been cancelled.  All third-party testing sites are closed.  Private applicators with March 31 expiration dates can look to June 1 as their new deadline.  Details: Jessica Lenker jeslenker@pa.gov or Nada Manmiller nmanmiller@pa.gov.

PSCFO AG DIRECTORY REMINDER

The PSCFO Agricultural Directory for 2020 has been released.  Some quantities are available free of charge to PSCFO members, the media, and public officials.  For non-members and others, there will be a modest charge for shipping and handling.  Please advise PSCFO by emailing xenobun@aol.com.

WHAT’S IN THE $2 TRILLON FEDERAL STIMULUS PACKAGE?

Hopefully, these links supplied by Farm Journal’s AgWeb will be helpful.  Link to full text of the legislation.   Link to a summary of the $340 billion supplemental appropriations.  Link to a section-by-section summary of the rest of the $2 trillion package, including tax, unemployment insurance health care, small-business loans, aid to airlines and other hard-hit industries.

In addition, U.S. Senate Democrats offer this six-page summary of the legislation: 

https://www.senatorhughes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/C3_Summary.pdf