Clemson Extension agribusiness team offers COVID-19 resources for farmers

July 6, 2020

As many will agree, COVID-19 has created enough stress on its own. The Clemson Cooperative Extension Service’s Agribusiness Team is trying to reduce some of that stress for South Carolina farmers by offering some unbiased, research-based information.

The team has created a website of information designed to help those in the agribusiness industry navigate challenges related to COVID-19. The fruits of their labor can be found at Team member Adam Kantrovich said this webpage contains vital information for the state’s farmers and others working in agribusiness.

“We are in constant contact with local, state and national officials to get regular updates on information specific to COVID-19,” said Kantrovich who is housed at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center. “We strive to keep our website information as current as possible.”

Topics covered include:

  • Economic Impact Payment Information. This addresses the basic guidelines of eligibility to receive a payment under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
  • Businesses having cash-flow problems because of COVID-19. Included under this topic are some steps business owners can take if their business needs cash. It includes information on CARES Act programs such as Small Business Association (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Tax filing extension and payment deferment for 2019 taxes. This topic addresses new deadlines regarding tax filings and payments.
  • Direct marketing beef, pork, or lamb: Is this an opportunity for you? Includes information about markets, laws, choosing a meat processor, strategies to promote products and communication strategies.
  • Opportunities for specialty crop producers during COVID-19 restaurant recovery. Specialty crop growers typically sell a good percentage of their produce to restaurants. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down restaurants across the country, many specialty crop producers were left scrambling to find alternative markets for their products. This section addresses opportunities for specialty crop producers to mitigate part of the financial damage resulting from COVID-19 and the subsequent decrease in restaurant sales.
  • Calculation for specialty crop Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payment. Included in this section is information on using the USDA-FSA calculator to determine payments for specialty crops, knowing which crops are eligible and some basic CFAP rules.
  • Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. These changes include term of loan maturity, coverage period extension, reduction of forgiveness based on Reduced Full-Time Equivalent Employees, payroll versus other approved expenses, and forgiveness limitation of Paycheck Protection Program loan.
  • The Long-Awaited Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for Farmers. Learn how a farm can benefit from this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program. This program is being administered by the Farm Service Agency with assistance from the Agricultural Marketing Service with respect to specialty crops. Signup for the program began on May 26. The application period ends on Aug. 28.
  • Considerations for getting your farm business online. This section explains how to identify, develop and deploy web-based strategies to sell farm products during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
  • Information for post-COVID-19 restaurant recovery may take a while. This section addresses the impacts of COVID-19 on South Carolina restaurants and what can be done to help restaurant owners recover from these impacts.
  • Links to valuable resources and guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Treasury, the Small Business Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To stay advised of updates made to this information, Kantrovich encourages everyone to follow the Clemson Extension Agribusiness Facebook page — @clemsonextensionagribusiness — and to regularly check the website.