Farmer Resources

Producer Resources Related to the Coronavirus COVID-19

Virginia Farm Bureau remains committed to providing our producer members and all Virginia farmers with timely and relevant information related to farm operations during this public health challenge.

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Updated April 1, 2020

Virginia Farm Bureau has been working closely with the state’s secretary of agriculture and forestry, commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, state forester, and leadership within Virginia Cooperative Extension, as well as with many other ag and forestry organizations to determine producers’ needs and share relevant information.

Tell us how COVID-19 is affecting your business

Your input will help us address producers’ most pressing concerns during this public health crisis.

Please take a moment to participate in an 11-question producer survey that will help Farm Bureau address issues on your behalf.

Members can receive Action Alerts

Farm Bureau producer members can receive emailed Action Alerts as new information becomes available. If you are not already signed up for Action Alerts, you may use the online form on this site to sign up today.

Virginia Farm Bureau

March 23, 2020 – Statement from VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor

March 19, 2020 – Support for COVID-19-impacted businesses announced

March 19, 2020 – Coronavirus highlights ongoing need for rural broadband access

American Farm Bureau response

April 1, 2020 - Yes, There are COVID-19 Impacts on Agriculture

March 18, 2020 – AFBF highlights immediate challenges facing agriculture sector

March 17, 2020 – Statement from AFBF President Zippy Duvall

Updated April 2, 2020

Virginia Agricultural Workers

Guidance to use with farm employees

Q: Do Virginia agriculture workers need to carry letters to get to work in Virginia?

A: Many states have started to require/issue letters indicating the holder is part of an essential industry/enterprise or government service, and therefore able to move freely to conduct business. Currently in Virginia the primary focus is on limiting non-essential retail and recreational and entertainment businesses. Consequently, there are no restrictions on enterprises that are not deemed non-essential from performing job duties and traveling to and from jobs. Therefore, it is not necessary to have such a letter of authorization to be developed and provided. If the governor does enact further restrictions, new guidance will be provided. Entities operating across state lines should seek guidance from the other states within which they are doing business.

Q. Have the Virginia State Police offered any guidance on workers carrying letters?

On April 1, the Virginia State Police released this press release, which indicates the Virginia State Police are not randomly stopping drivers to question their purpose for traveling. They do advise that you should check the laws of other states to which you are traveling, and follow the guidance from that state.

Q. Do farm workers or farmers need to carry letters in their vehicle while traveling in North Carolina for a farm job or other farm-related needs?

A. The North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture has recommended that farm workers and farmers who have to travel in North Carolina for a farm job or other farm-related need carry letters.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services notice of essential food and agricultural employees.

Q. Do farm workers or farmers need to carry letters in their vehicle while traveling to Maryland for a farm job or other farm-related needs?

A. Governor Hogan’s legal counsel has recommended that carrying a letter would help with enforcement of the stay-at-home order issued on March 30. The Maryland Farm Bureau worked with the Maryland governor’s office and their land-grant university to create two different versions of a letter for farmers to use. We were advised that a Virginia farm employee traveling in Maryland was stopped by Maryland State Police.

Maryland essential food and agricultural independent contractor work permit.

Maryland essential food and agricultural employee work permit.

Resources for H-2A labor sharing and transfer

In response to COVID-19 disruptions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Labor announced a partnership to help facilitate the identification of foreign and domestic workers who may be available and eligible to transfer to other U.S. agricultural employers.

USDA and DOL have identified approximately 20,000 H-2A- and H-2B-certified positions that have expiring contracts in the coming weeks. Workers leaving these positions could be available to transfer to a different employer’s labor certification. The data, available at farmers.gov/manage/h2a, includes the number of certified worker positions, the current employer name and contact, attorney/agent name and contact, and the worksite address. This information will be a resource to H-2A employers whose workforces have been delayed because of travel restrictions or visa processing limitations.

Employers should be aware that all statutory and regulatory requirements continue to apply. Employers are encouraged to monitor travel.state.gov for the latest information and should monitor the relevant embassy/consular websites for specific operational information.

Contact USDA with questions

The USDA has established aglabor@usda.gov as an e-mail contact points for agricultural producers to use when encountering challenges related to agriculture labor visas.

General overview

In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates as of March 20, 2020. At first, these consulates were prioritizing interview waiver eligible cases. Previous requirements stated that H-2A applicants were only interview waiver eligible if their visa had expired in the last 12 months and they had not used an interview waiver previously.

In an update to the initial policy, The State Department has now authorized officers to expand the categories of H-2A visa applicants eligible to waive an in-person interview. Secretary Pompeo, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has authorized consular officers to expand the categories of H-2A visa applicants whose applications can be adjudicated without an in-person interview.

Consular officers can, if they so choose, now waive the visa interview requirement for first-time and returning H-2A applicants who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility. This expansion also increases the period in which returning workers may qualify for an interview waiver. Applicants whose previous visas expired in the last 48 months, and who did not require a waiver of ineligibility the last time they applied, do not need to be interviewed in-person if they are applying for the same visa classification as their previous visa. The State Department anticipates the vast majority of otherwise qualified H-2A applicants will now be adjudicated without an interview.

This announcement indicates more H-2A visas will now be considered interview waiver eligible, allowing for increased workforce access. Here is a FAQ document regarding this announcement.

The USDA has established a website with H-2A information at farmers.gov/manage/h2a, and questions regarding H-2A challenges can be sent to aglabor@usda.gov.

As this situation continues to develop, please keep an eye out for updates from Farm Bureau, and do not hesitate to be in touch with questions. Feel free to share this with your counterparts and partner organizations.

Workplace Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to coronavirus in the workplace.

Foreign labor certification

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19

Supporting workforce needs in the agricultural sector

The U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a partnership to facilitate the identification of domestic and foreign workers that may be available to fulfill critical U.S. agricultural sector workforce needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virginia Unemployment Insurance Program

Wages, hours and leave

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division is providing information on common issues employers and workers face when responding to COVID-19, including the effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Updated March 25, 2020

As agriculture has been designated an essential industry during the response to COVID-19, a number of exemptions or relaxing of regulations have been put in place by both the state and federal government.

It is crucial that our nation’s farmers have the supplies they need and an efficient pipeline to get products to access points so consumers can feed their families.

As with every sector during these challenging times, things are changing rapidly. Below are some resources to review to help make sure you know of any restrictions or exemptions that apply in hauling agricultural products and supplies. We have tried to link pages we feel will be updated as things change.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

The president’s emergency declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, including transportation to meet immediate needs. In addition to other essential items, included in the declaration are transportation needs related to the production of food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores. Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.

A few FAQ related to agriculture are here, but make sure you check the complete FMCSA FAQ page linked above.

Q: Are loads that include supplies related to direct assistance under the emergency declaration mixed with other, un-related materials covered under the declaration?

A: Generally, yes; however, mixed loads with only a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration are not covered.

Q: Are livestock a covered commodity under the terms of the emergency declaration?

A: Yes, livestock are covered as a precursor to food. The emergency declaration covers “immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items including food needed for the emergency restocking of stores.

Q: Is the driver required to use a paper logbook or ELD?

A: No, the emergency exemption includes relief from all the hours-of service regulations in 49 CFR part 395, including the recordkeeping requirements (i.e., records of duty status (RODS).

Q: What documentation is needed to verify that the driver is operating under the exemption?

A: There is no specific documentation required for verification. Retention of ordinary business records, such as the bill of lading, may be useful later for the convenience of the motor carrier and driver, to document use of the exemption during a future inspection or enforcement action.

Also: MCSA issues guidance document that provides clarity to DOT-regulated employers, employees and service agents on conducting DOT drug-and-alcohol testing given concerns about COVID-19.

DMV and VDOT

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, along with the Department of Transportation has authorized a temporary waiver of registration and licensing requirements for carriers, and the commissioner of highways authorizes a temporary waiver of normal weight and width restrictions on roads controlled by VDOT, for the express purpose of ensuring that emergency essential supplies and services reach impacted areas in timely manner.

It’s important to remember weight exemptions are not valid on posted structures for restricted weight. Also note, as in the case of the FMCSA exemptions, the DMV/VDOT exemption shall not exceed the duration of the motor carrier's or driver’s direct assistance in providing emergency relief, or 30 days from the initial declaration of emergency, whichever is less. View waiver

DMV response to COVID-19:

Effective March 18, 2020, all 75 DMV customer service centers are closed, and all DMV 2 Go and DMV Connect services postponed until at least April 2, 2020.

Extension of driver and vehicle credentials:

Driver’s licenses and identification cards set to expire between March 15 and May 15 are extended 60 days from the original date of expiration. This includes credentials for individuals age 75 and older who typically are required to make an in-person visit to renew.

The 60-day credential extension also applies to commercial driver's licenses and commercial instruction permits that expire between March 15 and May 15.

The extension applies to vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan. The governor has asked all law enforcement agencies in all IRP member jurisdictions refrain from taking action against vehicles with Virginia apportioned license plates expiring in March and April 2020, until the 60-day extension period has ended.

Vehicle registrations that expire in March and April are extended for 60 days.

Those eligible to renew their licenses, identification cards or vehicle registration online are encouraged to take advantage of those services. Mail-in options are also available for a number of transactions such as vehicle registration, original title transactions and driver's license renewal, if mailed a notice.

If in-person service is needed, these customers will have an additional 60 days to renew credentials without a late fee.

Review DMV’s complete information related to the COVID-19 response.

Virginia State Police - Vehicle inspections

On March 12, 2020, Gov. Northam directed the superintendent of the Virginia Department of State Police to suspend enforcing vehicle safety inspections for 60 days.

Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s general resource page

Virginia Farm Bureau has a wealth of information on state and federal regulations for transportation and other issues related to running your farm.

Updated March 26, 2020

Q: Can I still apply for agriculture best management cost share for conservation practices on my farm?

A: Each soil and water conservation district is determining whether their offices are open to the public. Most are not open to general public. This does not mean that they can’t help farmers with applying for cos-share funding. A good practice would be to call your local soil and water conservation district and inquire how they are handling sign-ups. To find which district works with farmers in your locality, visit https://vaswcd.org/districts-by-countycity.

Q: Is our local soil and water conservation district board still meeting to approve applications?

A: Obviously, this situation is unprecedented. The leadership of the Virginia Association Soil and Water Conservation Districts is trying to get the best information possible from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the state attorney general’s office. Again, each district board is best determining how to operate. To find which district works with farmers in your locality, visit https://vaswcd.org/districts-by-countycity.

Q: Is the USDA NRCS still providing support for federal conservation programs?

A: Starting March 23, all NRCS offices will be closed to the public but remain open for staff to conduct business by email and phone, and online. Soil and water conservation districts that are co-located with NRCS may not receive clients in the office and must observe the same protocols.

When in the field, NRCS employees may interact with their clients using social distancing protocols but may not go into clients’ homes for meetings.

Updated April 7, 2020

Farmers Markets

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued guidance regarding Gov. Ralph Northam’s March 23 COVID-19 orders. Many of the VDACS guidance documents provide a reasonable amount of flexibility given the stated effort to avoid having groups of people congregate in close proximity.

Online and Alternative Markets

NEW WEBSITE UPDATES: Lulus Local Food is an eCommerce solution uniquely designed to take farmers markets, farms and farm stands online to reach retail customers. Lulus enables farmers, markets and food hubs to tailor customer orders, pick-up and delivery to suit most situations. The Lulus program provides online sales, inventory management, financial reporting and marketing to new customers. Nominal volume-based transaction fees apply. Contact Lulus at 804-980-1173, luluslocalfood@gmail.com or luluslocalfood.com. Lulus is a value-added agriculture program provided by the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation & Rural Development.

MarketMaker is a national network of states that connect farmers and fishermen with food retailers, grocery stores, processors, caterers, chefs and consumers. Farmers can list their food goods, contact information and market hours and locations. For more information on how to list your farm products for free, visit ext.vt.edu/agriculture/market-maker.html.

Virginia Grown is not only a marketing program for foodstuffs raised in Virginia, but also a website where farmers, farmers markets, CSAs and others can list their food goods, contact information and market hours and locations. For more information on how to list your farm products for free, visit vdacs.virginia.gov/vagrown.

Direct Market Resources

For important information regarding coronavirus, visit vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/covid19.pdf

Questions regarding Food Safety and Inspection may be directed to the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service. Please refer to the following subject links:

Virginia Cooperative Extension provides resources and information to help farmers, markets and consumers help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintains List N, which includes products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Refer to epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2 for the current list of products EPA has reviewed and approved. Additional products may be included by EPA to List N. This list includes product name, EPA registration number, manufacturer and application method.

Livestock Markets

Many livestock markets are temporarily modifying their weekly auction schedule in the wake of COVID-19. Please contact your local auction market regarding their sale schedules and market requirements.

Contact information for livestock auction markets can be found here.

For private seed stock sales, please contact the farm or livestock dealer directly for details.

As of 4/7/20 the following livestock auctions have cancelled certain sales:

  • Tri-State Livestock Market in Abingdon will be closed on April 10.
  • Farmers Livestock Exchange in Winchester will be closed until April 20.

Updated April 7, 2020

Refer to farmers.gov/coronavirus for general information regarding service center operations and closures, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Farm Service Agency

(fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Virginia/index)

FSA makes changes to farm loan, disaster, conservation and safety net programs to make it easier for farm customers to conduct business.

Farm Service Agency issued the following notice on March 18, governing FSA office hours at local service centers: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USFSA/bulletins/281e885. Offices in Virginia can be expected to follow this procedure until further notice, subject to change as conditions evolve.

Farmers are encouraged to call their FSA offices prior to making an in-person visit, and make an appointment, as office hours and staffing levels may change. You may prefer to conduct your business with FSA by phone or mail or online.

If you are unsure of your FSA office location or contact information, refer to the office locator.

FSA will begin sign-up for the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program on March 23. Farms affected by excess moisture in 2018 may be eligible for WHIP payments, Producers without 2018 crop insurance or NAP documentation must document their affected 2018 crop production. Direct WHIP questions to your local office.

Natural Resource Conservation Service

(nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/va/home)

Refer to farmers.gov/coronavirus for general information regarding office operations.

Farmers are encouraged to call their NRCS office prior to making an in-person visit, and make an appointment, as office hours and staffing levels may change.

If you are unsure of your NRCS office location or contact information, refer to the office locator.

Risk Management Agency

(rma.usda.gov)

Crop Insurance Changes

Refer to farmers.gov/coronavirus for information on federal crop insurance deadline extensions and process allowances.

Rural Development

(rd.usda.gov/va)

Visit rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions and more.

Rural Development, in response to COVID-19, has announced allowances for certain direct loans and guaranteed loans made through Rural Housing. For details visit rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/USDA_RD_SA_COVID19_ProgramImmediateActions.pdf.

Stakeholder Notice – Remote Status, March 20, 2020:

Dear Rural Development Customers, Stakeholders, and Partners:

Rural Development in Virginia is working to ensure the safety, security, and health of the public and our employees while continuing to provide excellent customer service.

Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on limiting the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, we are now in enterprise-wide remote operational status. USDA Rural Development is open for business and looks forward to continuing our vital work supporting our customers who live and work in rural America.

The Virginia Rural Development team will continue delivering programs and offering the highest level of customer service. Customers and stakeholders can reach employees using the contact information below.

Thank you,

Rural Development Virginia

(Virginia Employee Directory)

Updated March 28, 2020

How are farm supply stores handling COVID-19?

This varies by company, but the majority seem to be open for business for the time being. As this could change rapidly, we urge you to check with your local store for the most current information on openings and procedures before visiting. Here are notes and links to several across the state:

Augusta Co-op (Website)

  • Early shopping time for seniors
  • Phone order/dock pick-up/delivery available

Culpeper Farmers’ Cooperative (Website)

  • Phone order/dock pick-up/delivery available
  • Hiring CDL drivers in Culpeper and Fauquier (good option for bus drivers who are out of work)

Rockingham Cooperative (Website)

  • Parking lot pick-up available

Rockbridge Farmers Co-op (Website)

  • Bulk propane, petroleum and fertilizer building closed
  • Open for business via phone and email

Orange Madison Cooperative (Website)

  • Retail stores open with precautions
  • Curbside service available
  • Corporate offices closed; account payments will be accepted by showroom staff
  • Bulk product delivery continuing with precautions
  • All interior services pertaining to energy are restricted to emergencies only, until further notice; exterior services offered as usual

Southern States (Website)

  • Open; call individual stores for details

Tractor Supply (Website)

James River Equipment (Website)

Hoober (Website)

  • Open; sales area closed to foot traffic; phone order/outside pick-up requested
  • Salesperson available outside for equipment purchase while social distancing
  • Salesperson available outside for equipment purchase while social distancing
  • Call individual stores for details

Carter Machinery (Website)

  • Open; showroom closed; phone order/dock pick-up available
  • Call individual stores for details

Is the Virginia Farm Bureau Products Division operational?

We are operating and open for business with some modifications. We have restricted access to the warehouse and ask that members and customers call to place an order. We will pull it and have it available at a bay door for pick-up.

Much of our product is shipped to various dealers, and we are continuing to ship product as usual. Our sales staff are not visiting dealers; rather, they are communicating by phone and email.

Call 800-476-8473 to place an order.

Updated April 3, 2020

Q. How do I renew my commercial pesticide applicator certification since DMV offices are closed?

A. The closure of DMV offices due to COVID-19 has eliminated an important testing option for many prospective pesticide applicators who are required to take pesticide applicator certification exams. As a result, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will offer in-person pesticide applicator certification testing for commercial applicators and registered technicians. The in-person testing will be held at predetermined locations and by invitation only to ensure adequate social distancing and no more than 10 individuals at each test site. For the scheduling of exams, the administration has determined that applicants involved in agriculture production or food processing (Categories, 1A, 1C, 7A, and 7C) will be given preference over other applicants. Once agriculture production and food processing applicants have completed their testing, all other applicants will be scheduled based on the date VDACS issued their Notice of Authorization. In-person testing will continue until such time as DMV offices reopen. Please do not contact the VDACS Office of Pesticide Services to determine your scheduled testing time, as applicants will be notified by VDACS Office of Pesticide Services staff.

Q: Can I still receive wildlife assistance from the state game department?

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offices are closed, but staff are teleworking, and all regional staff and Virginia Conservation Police officers are in the field and available.

Information on the agency’s COVID-19 response can be found at dgif.virginia.gov/covid-19.

Updated April 7, 2020

Risk Management Agency

The Risk Management Agency is temporarily modifying some federal crop insurance processes and reporting deadlines in the wake of COVID-19 mitigation. These processes include assignment of indemnity and replant inspection certification. Deadlines have been extended for written agreement submission, sales and production reporting. Please consult with Virginia Farm Bureau State Crop Specialist, David Hunnicutt, at david.hunnicutt@vafb.com or your local crop insurance agent for details.

Other Resources

U.S. Paycheck Protection Program - Farms are Eligible

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a new guaranteed loan program, which includes $349 billion for small businesses to keep their employees on the payroll. Eligible businesses include nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal business concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals and independent contractors with 500 or fewer employees. It is our understanding that this help does not apply to foreign workers under the visa programs like H-2A.

Loans are capped at $10 million but can include up to eight weeks of the business’ average monthly payroll costs from the last year plus an additional 25% for non-payroll costs. Seasonal and new businesses will use different calculations. The PPP will be available through June 30, 2020. Farmers can apply for the PPP through any existing SBA 7(a) lenders or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.

Applications can begin on:

  • April 3, 2020, for small businesses and sole proprietorships through existing SBA 7(a) lenders
  • April 10, 2020, for independent contractors and self-employed individuals through existing SBA 7(a) lenders

The loan will be forgiven if:

  • All employees are kept or quickly rehired and compensation levels are maintained for eight weeks (payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee)
  • The funds are used for:
    • Payroll and benefits
    • Mortgage interest incurred before February 15, 2020
    • Rent, under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020
    • Utilities, for which service began before February 15, 2020.

Borrowers will still owe money if:

  • The loan amount is used for anything other than payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities payments over the eight weeks after getting the loan.
  • Due to likely high subscriptions, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.
  • You also will owe money if you do not maintain your staff and payroll.

U.S. business COVID-19 loans

Small businesses, including farms, affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis can now apply for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million from Small Business Administration to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other expenses. American Farm Bureau is working diligently to clear up whether farms are eligible for this or not. Since farms quality for USDA disaster programs, this is being worked out through a number of the disaster relief bills that have passed. Loan applications can be submitted through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Side-by-Side Comparison of U.S. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and US Paycheck Protection Program

The National Federation of Independent Businesses has a thorough side-by-side comparison of these two programs that might be helpful in understanding the differences.

State taxes

The due date for Virginia individual and corporate income taxes is now June 1, 2020. Please note that interest will still accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadline should do so.

Grants

Truist-NCIFund COVID-19 Grants

  • Available to Virginia businesses
  • Grants will range from $5,000 to $25,000
  • Applicant requirements include in operation as of Aug. 1, 2019; no more than 10 full-time equivalents (300 hours/week); no more than $1 million in annual gross revenue; experienced at least a 15% reduction in sales due to COVID-19.

USDA farm loan information

Here are links to general farm loan programs explanation by type and electronic assessment tool:

Farm lending institutions

Farmers may utilize a variety of farm lending institutions. Most have closed their offices to the public but are utilizing appointments by phone or via email. Check your lending institution’s website for specifics. Here are some of the lending institutions that have statewide coverage and service a large number of farm loans:

Virginia’s Farm Credit Associations (depending on your location):

First Bank and Trust Company

All branches operating by phone and with drive-through windows to determine how to best serve you. For updates, visit firstbank.com/information-for-first-bank-and-trust-customers.

Other lending institutions and community banks

Check individual institutions’ websites, but most are arranging alternative ways of communicating and accepting payments. The following are also available to farmers in Virginia, and USDA FSA may be in a position to help with guaranteed farm loans:

  • Bank of Botetourt
  • Bank of Floyd
  • Bank of Southside Va.
  • Branch Banking & Trust
  • Carolina Farm Credit Service
  • Essex Bank
  • EVB
  • Farmers & Merchants Bank
  • Farmers Bank
  • First Citizens Bank & Trust Company
  • First Financial
  • First National Bank
  • Grayson National Bank
  • New Horizon Bank
  • New Peoples Bank Inc.
  • Pendleton Community Bank Inc.
  • Pioneer Bank
  • Sonabank
  • Suntrust Bank
  • The Bank 0f Charlotte County
  • The Bank of Marion
  • The Fauquier Bank
  • Union First Market Bank
  • United Bank

Updated March 23, 2020

Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom has a long history of providing educators, volunteers, families and children with resource to learn about agriculture the source of our food and basic needs. This program connects our youth to the story of agriculture to prepare a future generation of agriculture leaders and informed citizens.

Virginia AITC is a nonprofit organization supported by Virginia Farm Bureau, as well as by individual, agriculture organization and corporate sponsors.

FAQ:

What activities are available for children?

What lessons and resources are available for educators and families?

Where can I find more information?

In addition to Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom, find national agriculture highlights at National Agriculture in the Classroom and the American Farm Bureau Foundation. Here are the links:

How can I help?

Share our resources with youth in your community. Support the program to enable more children to learn about agriculture and its impact on daily life.

Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom

Virginia AITC on Facebook

Farm Life 360 virtual farm tours

Journey 2050 virtual farm game (home edition)

National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

My American Farm

Updated March 25, 2020

The national response to the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to many different forms of stress, from financial and family concerns to increased anxiety over isolation and quarantine.

The documents below have been created to help identify stress and anxiety in yourself and others, and provide tips for self-care and stress management. They also identify organizations that can provide assistance as we all deal with changes to our daily routines.

Updated April 2, 2020

Donate to food banks

One way to help others is to volunteer or donate to local food banks and their associated pantries or feeding programs.

In Virginia, there are seven regional food banks under the umbrella of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.

Food donations make a difference

The following was excerpted from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

If there’s any silver lining in our new normal, it’s the evidence that we live and work in communities where people care about each other and about folks in need. The Food Bank has received questions from people who want to know what they can do for others impacted by this pandemic. Here are some ideas:

  • Donate money – Our resources will be stretched and strained in the coming months in ways we cannot even imagine today. Making a financial gift—left unrestricted for the Food Bank to use where the need is greatest—will give us flexibility to respond as things change. Typically, we can provide four meals for every $1 contributed.
  • Volunteer – We’ve put strategies in place to make our volunteer workspaces even safer to visit. We anticipate needing more volunteers than ever before! If you are healthy and willing to share your time and energy, thank you for sharing those gifts at the Food Bank or a local food pantry near you.
  • Engage Others – Enlist your friends and family to join the cause. Share our emails, engage with and share our posts on Facebook or Twitter, or consider creating an online drive (virtual food!) or Facebook fundraiser to benefit food banks. The more we come together, the stronger we will all be on the other side of this.

What does a statewide stay-at-home order mean for food banks?

Food Bank staff, volunteers and partners throughout our network provide essential service to the communities we serve, and we will continue to do so as the COVID-19 public health crisis evolves.

The following statement from the Federation of Virginia Food Banks has been approved by Governor Northam:

Please be advised that regardless of the Virginia mandates for business closing, quarantine, and/or sheltering, the charitable food assistance network will always be exempt. Our work on the front lines to fight food insecurity across the Commonwealth is considered life-sustaining work. This work includes that of food banks and partner agencies—pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters—and our most valuable asset, our volunteers.

What are food banks doing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak?

  • They are following and promoting proper hygiene and prevention protocols with employees and volunteers as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Food banks are sharing those same protocols with our community partners—mostly volunteer-staffed and often faith-based groups.
  • They are adapting existing disaster response and business continuity plans to address the specific challenges and restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. These plans address internal factors—such as staffing, food sourcing, and distribution—and they address external factors, such as emergency communications and potential suspensions and closures among our community partners.
  • Food banks are maintaining substantial supplies of food to respond to potential spikes in the need for food assistance among individuals who become homebound, quarantined, unemployed, or otherwise affected by disruptions in daily life caused by the pandemic.

Virginia Food Crop Donation Tax Credit

As the growing season progresses, farmers can donate produce and other food items from their farms. Virginia provides a tax credit for farmers who donate food.

Virginia’s Food Crop Donation Tax Credit is an income tax credit for farmers who make food crop donations to a food bank. The guidelines have been released for the program and can be viewed here.

The tax credit would equal 30% of the fair market value of the food crops donated by the person during the taxable year not to exceed an aggregate of $5,000 for any taxable year. The food crops are defined as grains, fruits, nuts, or vegetables. This tax credit’s aim is to help encourage more farmers to donate some of their crop to local food banks to help feed the hungry.

To receive the Food Crop Donation Tax Credit, donors must apply to the Department by completing Form FCD-1, which is available to download from the Department’s website tax.virignia.gov. This form and any supporting documentation must be completed and mailed no later than February 1 of the year following the taxable year during which the donations were made.

Farmers who file for the Food Crop Donation Tax Credit can claim the credit against the following taxes administered by Virginia Tax:

  • individual income tax
  • corporate income tax

Are there any restrictions on how the donated crops are used?

  • The food bank must use the donated crops in a way that provides food for the needy.
  • The donated crops can’t be used outside of Virginia, and can’t be used to pay for goods or services.
  • If the food bank decides to sell the donated crops, they can only sell them to the needy, other nonprofit food banks, or other organizations that will use the crops to provide food to the needy.

The food bank that receives your donation will complete Form FCD-2, Virginia Food Crop Donation Certification, and give the certification to you within 30 days of when you donated the crops.

Is there a cap?

Yes. We can’t issue more than $250,000 in food crop donation tax credits per fiscal year.

Using the credit:

To claim the credit, complete the following and attach it to your return:

  • Schedule CR for individual returns - PART 28 - FOOD CROP DONATION TAX CREDIT
  • Form 500CR for corporate returns

For more information, visit Va. Code § 58.1-439.12:12.

Tax Credit Resources

Food Crop Donation Tax Credit Guidelines

Food Crop Donation Tax Credit Application and Certification, Form Schedule

Federal Charitable Deduction, Publication 526

2016 Webinar Virginia's Food Crop Donation Tax Credit

Farmers and food banks reaping rewards from tax credit

Real Virginia - Food Donation Tax Credit

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