COVID-19 Updates & Resources

COVID-19 UPDATES & RESOURCES

We know you’ve been receiving a lot of COVID-19 related emails but we want you to know what we’re thinking and doing to help keep our communities fed, provided for, and safe during these challenging and disconcerting times.  As always, HFB’s primary concern is for the health and safety of our members, staff, customers, vendors, and the communities we serve.  Please share this information and let’s all work together to help each other.

 

The spread of COVID-19 is impacting everyone’s lives, including disruptions to many involved in local farming and ranching, and their communities who are finding it more difficult to get produce and other foods and farm products.  HFB is working with government agencies and industry partners to provide resources to assist those who are impacted.  Here are some updates:

FARM SAFETY

FARM FOOD SAFETY

 

While there is no evidence of links between food and COVID-19 at this time, we would like to remind you of a few practical farm food safety strategies to continue implementing to protect yourself and employees and minimize the risk of contamination. Click button below to view the COVID-19 FARM FOOD SAFETY REMINDERS published by UH CTAHR Extension Agents.Please remember to follow all federal, state, and county regulations and recommendations.

HANDWASHING STATIONS

 

Please take extra care to ensure that you, your family, and your employees are employing proper and thorough hand-washing procedure in the field with potable water. Attached is guidance for both handwashing station setup and handwashing procedure.

 

Handwashing is one of the easiest and simplest things you can do to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses and bacteria.

[DATE]

 

To Whom it May Concern,

 

 

______________________ is an employee of the [COMPANY NAME] and is allowed to perform agricultural duties as specified in the City & County of Honolulu and Maui County’s “Stay at Home and Work from Home” orders.

 

Under the order, food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing are considered “ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES” and are not subject to the “Stay at Home and Work from Home” orders.  Farmers’ market, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruit and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry are also considered “ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES”.

 

In addition, the orders direct “Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies needed to operate” to be exempted.

 

The [COMPANY NAME] provides support and services to farmers and ranchers across the State of Hawaii.  The [COMPANY NAME] is an “ESSENTIAL BUSINESS” under the City & County of Honolulu and Maui County’s “Stay at Home and Work from Home” orders and permitted to conduct business.

 

 

 

 

__________________________

[SIGNATURE]

[ADMINISTRATOR’S NAME]

[POSITION], [COMPANY NAME]

[PHONE #]

MARKET ACCESS

We realize that many of our member farmers and ranchers are being affected by the COVID-19 related closure and scaling back of retail outlets, farmers’ markets, restaurants, hotels, roadside stands, lei stands, the Farm to School Program, and agri-tourism.  Now more than ever, Hawaii needs our farms and ranches to stay in business — our communities need the products they supply.

Hawaii Department of Public Safety – If you have fresh produce that you were unable to sell due to the closing of a farmers’ market, restaurant or other retail market, the Hawaii Prison System may be able to purchase your inventory.

Farm Link Hawaii – Farm Link is an online local food marketplace and delivery network based on O‘ahu. Over 100 chefs, grocery buyers, caterers, food artisans, and individuals already trust Farm Link for farm-direct local food.  Contact Farm Link Hawaii  at  (808) 201-5252 or email info@farmlinkhawaii.com

Hawaii Foodbank – Hawaii Foodbank is a nonprofit agency in the state of Hawaii that collects, warehouses and distributes mass quantities of both perishable and nonperishable food through approximately 200 charitable agencies on Oahu and Kauai. Hawaii Foodbank serves Oahu and Kauai directly, and we partner with The Food Basket to serve Hawaii County and Maui Food Bank to serve Maui County. Contact Hawaii Foodbank  (808) 836-3600 or email info@hawaiifoodbank.org

Aloha Harvest – Aloha Harvest is one of approximately 50 recognized food rescue nonprofit organizations across the nation. Contact Aloha Harvest at (808) 537-6945 or email info@alohaharvest.org.

Foodland – Hawaii’s largest locally owned and operated grocery retailer is committed to supporting our local farmers, ranchers, and communities. Contact Foodland at (808) 732-0791.

KCFB Try Eat Hawaii – Online fresh produce and product buy and sell.
Online store: https://tryeathawaii.com
ig: @tryeathawaii

The Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB) and the County of Maui have partnered in a program to help farmers during this difficult time.

 

The Farm Product Purchase Program is designed for local commercial farmers growing produce. Meat, value-added products, flowers and nursery products are not eligible.

As part of this program, MCFB will receive $20,000 per week to buy food from local farmers. The food will go to food distribution sites around the county.

 

The program will last four to five weeks, but the online ordering system will continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants do not need to be a member of the farm bureau.

 

Click here for the application attached in form fillable PDF. All applications must be submitted via email to mauicountyfarmbureau@gmail.com by April 12th.

Please click button below out to fill out the form, if you have fresh produce or other local ag items that you need to find a market for.

 

*Completing the form linked below does not guarantee market access. It is to quantify the needs of the local farmers that will gauge the level of markets needed. The goal is to support local farmers by purchasing the supply of food produced until the demand resumes and/or by facilitating food distribution. The goal is to minimize the need to import food.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES

HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

 

HDOA has not activated any emergency loans for the COVID-19 pandemic at this time. They are able to offer operating loans to assist farmers that have been affected by the shutdown of the farmers market. If the farmers have existing loans with the department, we are able to do loan payment forbearances to assist with their cash flow.

 

Agricultural Loan Division
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Contact:  Dean Matsukawa, Administrator
Phone: (808) 973-9460

 

Hilo-Phone: (808) 933-9977

 

Kona-Phone: (808) 323-7591

 

Kauai-Phone: (808) 241-3141, extension 39460 (Toll Free)

 

Maui -Phone: (808) 948-2400, extension 39460 (Toll Free)

 

Molokai-Phone: 1-800-468-4644, extension 39460 (Toll Free)

Hawaii Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism

 

DBEDT’s Community Based Economic Development (CBED) Program program’s Revolving Fund can do small business loans. They’ve partnered with the Department of Agriculture to make small business loans to agricultural businesses.

 

Currently, the Department of Agriculture’s micro-loan program and our CBED program is comfortable doing up to $25,000 each – total of up to $50,000 – depending on the qualifications of the loan applicant and what the loan funds are to be used for.

 

CBED Program
Hawaii Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism
Contact:  Wayne Thom
Email: wayne.k.thom@hawaii.gov

USDA Farm Service Agency

If you are an FSA farm loan program borrower impacted by the pandemic, you can apply for loan servicing (reschedule loan terms, debt set-aside, etc.) with your local County Farm Service Agency Office.

 

County Farm Service Agency Office:

 

Kauai County
Contact:  Robert Ishikawa, County Executive Director
Phone: (808) 245-9014 x 104
Fax: (855) 356-9495
Email:  robert.ishikawa@hi.usda.gov

 

Oahu County
Contact:  Jason Shitanishi, County Executive Director
Phone: (808) 861-8538 x 104
Fax: (855) 356-9490
Email:  jason.shitanishi@hi.usda.gov

 

Maui County
Contact:   James Robello, County Executive Director
Phone: (808) 871-5500 x 105
Fax: (855) 356-9494
Email:  james.robello@hi.usda.gov

 

Hawaii County
Contact:   Lester Ueda, County Executive Director
Phone: (808) 933-8341
Fax: (855) 356-9492
Email:   lester.ueda@hi.usda.gov

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT

USDA is expanding upon the deferral flexibilities it announced March 31, 2020. The expanded notice provides that guaranteed lenders may also approve and make covered loans under the provisions of Section 1102 of the CARES Act. Section 1102 pertains to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

 

Guaranteed lenders must notify USDA Rural Development in writing of any covered loans made under Section 1102 of the CARES Act. Written notification will meet the standard for concurrence until Sept. 30, 2020. After Sept. 30, 2020, lenders must resume obtaining Agency approval in accordance with all applicable program regulations, forms and existing authorities.

 

The deferrals apply to Business and Industry Loan Guarantees, Rural Energy for America Program Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees, and Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees.

 

Questions regarding this announcement may be directed to:

Rural Business-Cooperative Service:Aaron Morris (Aaron.Morris@usda.gov)

Rural Housing Service:Deborah Jackson (Deborah.Jackson2@usda.gov)

Rural Utilities Service:Darrel Lipscomb (Darrel.Lipscomb@usda.gov)

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

Paycheck Protection Program:

Farmers and ranchers are eligible to sign up for the Paycheck Protection Program. The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with zero-fee loans of up to $10 million to cover payroll and other operating expenses.  Up to 8 weeks of payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs can be forgiven. Click here for more information.

Apply for the PPP through any existing SBA 7(a) lenders or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union or Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Current eligible lenders can be found by searching the SBA website here.

 

Paycheck Protection Application Form
Paycheck Protection Loan and Forgiveness Calculator

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Guide 

 

Be Prepared to Submit your Application. Some lenders are asking for the following: 

  • Completed SBA Sample PPP Application Form
  • IRS Form 941 Employers Quarterly Tax returns for 2019
  • IRS Form 1099 MISC: 2019
  • schedule or reports from CPA, bookkeeper, or payroll provider
  • Other Payroll Documentation including payroll

 

Quick Facts:

  • There are no fees to apply
  • Funds are available first come first served basis
  • Payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee.
  • Payroll is priority! It is anticipated that 75% of the forgiven amount must be used for payroll costs.
  • Loan payments will be deferred for six months.After that the interest rate is .5%
  • No collateral or personal guarantees are required.
  • Neither government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
  • You must keep employees on the payroll – or rehire quickly.
  • Forgiveness is based on maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.
  • Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.
  • Businesses with 500 or fewer employees are eligible – including nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships and independent contractors.
  • There are programs for Medium (500-1000 person) businesses and large businesses.  We are happy to share this info with you

 

Applications can begin on:

* April 3 for small businesses and sole proprietorships through existing SBA 7(a) lenders

* April 10 for independent contractors and self-employed individuals through existing SBA 7(a) lenders

 

Information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Debt Relief:

For small businesses that already have an SBA loan (such as a 7(a), 504, or microloan) or take one out within 6 months after the CARES Act is enacted, the SBA will pay all loan costs for borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six-months.  SBA borrowers may also seek an extension of the duration of their loan and delay certain reporting requirements. Click here for more information.

 

Need Assistance?

If you need help accessing or applying for any small business assistance, reach out to your local Small Business Development Center (https://www.hisbdc.org). Assistance is also available at Women’s Business Center (https://www.mcblhawaii.org), SCORE Hawai‘i (https://hawaii.score.org) or the Hawai‘i SBA District Office (https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/hi/honolulu).

CARES Act

  • Under the bill, USDA would have $48.9 billion to respond to the coronavirus, along with added funding for the Food and Drug Administration as well.
  • Among the aid to specific industries includes a $14 billion boost in funding authority for USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. that would allow USDA to provide more direct aid to producers. USDA’s CCC program has been depleted this year because of the Market Facilitation Program, but the new funding would allow USDA to provide more aid.
  • The legislation also includes a $9.5 billion assistance program that would more directly for livestock operations, including dairy farmers, as well as fruit-and-vegetable (specialty) crop producers. Farmers who sell directly to farmers markets, schools and restaurants would also be eligible for aid.
  • Beyond the direct aid to farmers, the bill also includes an additional $15.5 billion for USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the single-largest food-aid program in the country. Child nutrition programs would receive another $8.8 billion, and there are special provisions to distribute food aid on Native American reservations as well.
  • USDA’s Rural Development programs would receive $25 million for distance learning and telemedicine programs. Lawmakers cited the value in boosting telemedicine as a way to treat patients without having possible spreading of the disease for people who do not need hospitalization. Another $100 million would also go to further boost rural broadband as well.

How to apply for unemployment?

 

FOR FIRST TIME APPLICANTS, PLEASE:

 

FOR RETURNING APPLICANTS, PLEASE:

 

TOLL FREE NUMBERS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE:

  • (833)901-2272 for Password Resets
  • (833)901-2252 for Appointments

TAX RELIEF

 

STATE

 

As announced by Governor Ige today, the State of Hawaii is granting special tax relief for State Income taxpayers similar to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

 

Hawaii 2019 Income tax filing and payment due dates will be extended:

  • Individual and Corporate Income tax returns for Tax Year 2019 due from April 20, 2020 to June 20, 2020 are extended to July 20, 2020.
  • Individual Income tax payments for Tax Year 2019 due from April 20, 2020 to June 20, 2020 are extended to July 20, 2020.
  • Corporate Income tax payments for corporations for Tax Year 2019 due from April 20, 2020 to June 20, 2020 are extended to July 20, 2020.
  • Taxpayers who are entitled to a refund or pay the Tax Year 2019 Income tax due by July 20, 2020 receive an automatic extension to file the associated return by October 20, 2020.

 

Additional action is not needed by Income taxpayers to participate in this tax relief program. The Department is making the necessary system changes for these new due dates.

 

Individual income taxpayers who are expecting refunds for Tax Year 2019 are encouraged to file as soon as possible. Hawaii residents can file Form N-11 (Hawaii Resident Income tax) for FREE using Hawaii Tax Online (hitax.hawaii.gov).

 

Filing and payment dates for all non-Income taxes (Withholding, General Excise, Transient Accommodations, etc.) are unchanged.

 

FEDERAL

The deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020. Click here for more information.

HAWAII COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

 

Hawaiʻi Community Foundation and Pierre and Pam Omidyar have joined together to create the Hawaiʻi Resilience Fund to rapidly deploy resources and encourage community giving to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonprofit organizations should email grants@hcf-hawaii.org to request assistance in the form of a grant award from this fund. Click here for more information.

HOʻĀLA ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

 

The purpose of the Hoʻāla Assistance Program is to provide one-time emergency financial assistance (up to $1000 per household) to Hawaiʻi residents facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HRF is made possible through a partnership between the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, and Pierre & Pam Omidyar.  The program aims to provide stability to families during this emergency situation.

 

What the program funds?
  • mortgage payment
  • rent payment
  • utility services
  • certified childcare services

AMERICAN FARMLAND TRUST

 

AFT will award farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis.

 

Eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers’ markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs. If this describes your farming operation, apply here.

Hawaii State Legislature

As you’ve probably heard, the Hawaii legislature is currently in recess to prevent the spread of the virus.  No hearings will be scheduled until further notice, but legislators can be contacted via email regarding the various pending bills.  When the legislature reconvenes, the HFB Government Affairs Committee will focus on members’ priority legislative bills that have “crossed over” from the first chamber to the other on their way through the process to becoming law.To read about our remaining priorities, please visit https://hfbf.org/advocacy/.

HFB Office

At this time, the HFB office will continue to remain open Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (closed during lunch 12:00 – 12:30 pm) to service our members and the agricultural community.

 

We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic through information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hawaii Department of Health (HIDOH), and World Health Organization (WHO), and will follow recommendations from these agencies.  When appropriate, we will post updates on our websites at hfbf.org, as well as our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

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ALERT: Information and Resources about Coronavirus