See the latest information for those in the Florida agriculture industry from Florida ag leaders concerning COVID-19, also called coronavirus.
COVID-19, also called Coronavirus, has caused Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, to issue a stay-at-home order that started midnight on April 2. The majority of Florida’s residents are asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Some industries, including agriculture, have been deemed necessary and are to carry on as usual. A Citrus Industry article shared information from Florida ag leaders, such as Ray Royce, the executive director of Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, and Multi-county Extension agent Juanita Popenoe, concerning the ins and outs of the order for those in ag industries. Read the highlights below.
Info for Florida Agriculture
- Royce said “All agricultural and agricultural support activities are considered essential services and are not subject to the provisions of the order.” He advised to give employees printed “travel documents” with employees’ and their companies’ names saying they are all essential.
- Royce advised employers provide employees with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html.
- Popenoe maintained that posters in Spanish and English regarding Employee Rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Actmust be posted for workers immediately and through Dec. 31.
- The “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act will be in effect April 2 through Dec. 31 and apply to employers with 500 employees or fewer…The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act requires employers to provide paid sick leave if an employee is unable to work or telework.”
- Popenoe advised farmers to track and compile losses due to COVID-19 for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. “These include provisions that allow farmers to work with their trusted farm credit institutions for the purposes of securing payroll tax loans, along with 1-year deferrals, 100 percent guarantees and low rates”Popenoe said in the article.
- The article maintained that “USDA has been working with other federal agencies to limit the disruption to the H-2A workforce caused by COVID-19.”
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.