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:
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.
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.
Potential Markets for Produce
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
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.
HFB Farmers’ Markets
Additionally, HFB’s primary concern is for the health and safety of our staff, vendors, customers, and the communities we serve. We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily and will be proactive in our response. That being said, we are doing everything we can to keep our markets open.
We have taken a number of proactive steps to mitigate possible exposure at our farmers’ markets:
-Installed hand sanitizers at Info Booths
-Added new signage throughout the market reminding customers and workers to follow CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVD-19
-Intensified our cleaning regimen by thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch areas of the market
-Requiring all farmers, food vendors, and other market partners to adhere to best practices as outlined by the CDC
-Temporarily discontinuing live music to encourage social distancing
-Encouraging customers to grab their food and go
Specific Market Updates
- Honolulu Farmers Market (Blaisdell)
- Mililani Farmers Market
- KCC Saturday Farmers Market
- Leahi Farmers Market (KCC Tuesday)
- Kailua Town Center
Please visit https://hfbf.org/farmers-markets/ for more information and updates regarding our farmers’ markets.
Financial Resources for Producers
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)
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is requesting proposals for COVID-19 Emergency farmer relief, due at NOON Friday, March 27, 2020. If you are are a non-profit, commodity group, agricultural association with 501 (c) (3) status, you can apply for a maximum $10,000 in emergency relief. If you are an Individual farming operation, you can apply for a maximum of $2,000 in emergency relief.
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.
Hawaii Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism
Contact: Wayne Thom
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:
Contact: Robert Ishikawa, County Executive Director
Phone: (808) 245-9014 x 104
Fax: (855) 356-9495
Contact: Jason Shitanishi, County Executive Director
Phone: (808) 861-8538 x 104
Fax: (855) 356-9490
Contact: James Robello, County Executive Director
Phone: (808) 871-5500 x 105
Fax: (855) 356-9494
Contact: Lester Ueda, County Executive Director
Phone: (808) 933-8341
Fax: (855) 356-9492
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
If you are a small business owner who is suffering financial losses due to the impact of COVID-19 you can now file for low-interest working capital loans of up to $2 million from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Interest rates are 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75 percent. Terms are determined on a case by case basis, based upon borrower’s ability to repay.
Loan applicants are required to file the following documents:
Loan application (SBA Form 5), completed and signed.
Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506-T), completed and signed by each applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, each general partner or managing member; and, for any owner who has more than 50 percent ownership in an affiliate business. Affiliates include, but are not limited to, business parents, subsidiaries, and/or other businesses with common ownership or management;
Complete copies, including all schedules, of the most recently filed Federal income tax returns for the applicant business; an explanation if not available.
Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413) completed, signed, and dated by the applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, and each general partner or managing member.
Schedule of Liabilities listing all fixed debts (SBA Form 2202 may be used) are required to file three SBA forms and one IRS form.
For more information including the forms and how to submit an application, please go to the SBA Disaster Assistance Portal.
Disaster loan 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have reached out to Congressman Ed Case regarding potential federal funds to aid local farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID-19. We will provide more details as the details of this effort develops.
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/.
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.
-Stay home if you are sick
-Those who are high-risk, avoid public gatherings
-Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used
-Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
-Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, with your elbow or with a tissue, which should promptly be disposed of
-Wash or sanitize hands immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
-Try new, low-contact ways of greeting your friends and loved ones, including an elbow bump or wave
If you have any questions, contact our office at (808) 848-2074 or email at email@example.com.
Some helpful resources
Center for Disease Control (CDC):
World Health Organization:
John Hopkins CSSE:
Hawaii State Department of Health:
DEBDT Visitor Statistics: