Farm Scoop – April 2020

Navigating the PPP Loan Application Webinar

Join us for a special Legal Food Hub webinar Tuesday, April 28th at 1:00PM EST. Mary Rose Scozzafava is a volunteer attorney for the Legal Food Hub and a board member of a small local community farm in Lexington, MA. She recently assisted the farm in applying for a PPP loan. Join us as she shares her advice and experience.

Date: Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 at 1:00PM EST

Location: Zoom Register for this free presentation

Navigating the PPP Loan Application

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan designed to help small businesses keep their workers on payroll during the COVID-19 crisis. Mary Rose Scozzafava is both a volunteer attorney for the Legal Food Hub and a board member of a small local community farm in Lexington, MA. She recently assisted the farm in applying for a PPP loan. Join us as she shares her advice and experience.

If you cannot attend this webinar, it will be recorded and posted to our website for future viewing. Please feel free to send questions in advance to our email

Family First Corona Virus Response Act – What Farms and Small Business Need to Know

What farms and small businesses NEED to know to comply with the Family First Corona Virus Response Act.

UNH Extension is offering a webinar regarding the Family First Corona Virus Response Act.

Wednesday, 04/29/2020
7:00pm – 8:00pm
To Register visit UNH Extension.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)requires private businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The requirements including notifying employees, are in effect: April 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020.

Maine Farm Emergency Grants

Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) are introducing new Maine Farm Emergency Grants to assist farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This collaborative effort will provide support to farmers who need assistance mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19, and will help them adapt their businesses to be responsive to changing markets.
The application deadline is April 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Grants will be awarded during the week of May 4, 2020.  APPLY HERE

COVID-19 Maine Farmer Survey

As COVID-19 continues to make its way through our community, farmers are faced with unique challenges in an unpredictable market. Agricultural organizations agencies are continuing to collect information to assess the impact this virus is having on Maine farms to better inform direct assistance and policy in this changing time. IF YOU HAVE ALREADY TAKEN THIS SURVEY, PLEASE TAKE IT AGAIN. New questions have been added as we track changes over the past few weeks.  COVID-19 Maine Farmer Survey

Free Invasive Plant Management Plans

Calling all farm and woodland owners: free invasive plant management plans available in Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Somerset, and Waldo Counties

Farm and woodland owners and operators in five Maine counties may be eligible to receive a free invasive plant survey and management plan, prepared by a natural resource professional from the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).  Staff of SWCDs serving Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Somerset, and Waldo counties are looking for landowners or operators who would like to learn more about the invasive plants on their farms and woodlands.

Impacts of invasive plants:  Invasive plants like Asiatic bittersweet vines, thorny multiflora rose shrubs, sprawling Japanese barberry, and others can create dense tangles in forests, wetlands, and fields, crowding out native plants and young trees.  Along forest edges and hedgerows, thickets of invasive shrubs can reduce the area of productive fields.  Some invasive plants create habitat for ticks, cause skin rashes, or are harmful if eaten by livestock.

Identify harmful plants and get guidance on management:  Many farmers and woodland owners know that invasive plants are present but aren’t sure what to do about them.  Others may not know how to recognize invasive plants.  Having a site visit and survey from the local SWCD is a chance to talk with a natural resource professional, learn to identify harmful plants, and get guidance on how to manage them.  Survey data also help scientists understand invasive plant distribution in Maine because data are contributed to the online mapping tool iMapInvasives, the central repository for invasive plant data in Maine.

Free thanks to funders:  This service is free to farm and woodland owners or operators thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) administered by the Maine Natural Areas Program in the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.  The project is also funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation.  Space is limited and landowners/operators must meet basic USDA – NRCS eligibility requirements.  Site visits will be conducted during the growing season, but sign ups are open now.

Management assistance:  Participating landowners and operators are encouraged to act on the management plans they receive by implementing invasive plant treatments.  Treatment funding may be available by applying to the USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program through the local USDA NRCS office.

To learn more and sign up for a free survey and management plan, please contact the SWCD in the county where the farm or woodland is located:

American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators PPE Shortage Resources

American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators has produced web content addressing current PPE issues and providing answers/resources to some commonly asked questions.  Please visit for more information.

Farmer’s Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms

Are looking to shift to online sales channels in reaction to the coronavirus epidemic?  The National Young Farmers Coalition publication, Farmer’s Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms, is intended to help farmers compare the software platforms designed for these sales channels, without endorsing any product in particular.

USDA Offers Targeted Farm Loan Funding for Underserved and Beginning Farmers

FSA offers specially targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers. For the full news release visit FSA news release.

Farmers’ Guide to COVID-19 Relief

Announcing the Farmers’ Guide to COVID-19 Relief. Several of the programs discussed in this Guide are the product of the CARES Act—technically known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The CARES Act became law on March 27, 2020. This guide will focus on how these various programs can provide relief to farmers. Check FLAG’s website ( for updates as the pandemic and farmer relief unfolds.

Farmers’ Guide to COVID-19 Relief April 2020

ATTRA coping with COVID 19

NCAT agriculture specialists have been posting videos featuring strategies by themselves and others for dealing with the COVID- 19 pandemic.

In this video, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Colin Mitchell discusses how his local farmers market in San Antonio, TX has adapted to a drive-thru farmers market during the COVID 19 crisis.

He then takes you along while picking up an order from the Pearl Farmers Market Curbside service.

Find our COVID 19 resource page at the ATTRA website

New Ventures, “Grow Your Business Online”

New Ventures, “Grow Your Business Online” is a self-paced, tuition-free course, with a May 15, 2020 end date. Enroll at any time.

Signup today for New Ventures Maine course

COVID-19 Information for Agriculture and Food Businesses

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry continues to ensure functions critical to the agency and industry needs are met and carried out in the interest of public safety and public health. To keep our agricultural producers, businesses, and service providers as up-to-date as possible on health and safety issues with the ongoing COVID-19 situation, DACF will maintain the most recent information and guidance from the Maine Centers for Disease Control and our federal and state partners. Visit DACF’s COVID-19 resource page for more information.

Penn State Extension Offering Free Courses

Penn State Extension is offering more than 50 courses from their online library for free through the month of April.  With their  online learning, you get the practical, usable, science-based knowledge you need to weather the current storm and make progress with your health, your family, your community, and your business.  To see the available courses visit Penn State Extension’s free catalog here.

Opportunities for Earning Your Pesticide Recertification Credits Online

While all in person training sessions have been cancelled for the immediate future, the Board of Pesticides Control has many approved options for earning your pesticide recertification credits online.  Visit Board of Pesticides Control Bulletin for more information.

Maine Small Business Development Center Resources

The Maine SBDC has created a resource page for those needing assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Please visit Maine SBDC resource page for more information.