By Sarah Cato,
U of A System Division of Agriculture
The COVID-19 pandemic’s dramatic effects on the economy and the subsequent regulatory reactions have hit the agriculture industry hard, making difficult to navigate issues such as agricultural labor, contracts and direct marketing, increasingly confusing.
“Every sector of the agriculture industry has felt the blow of COVID-19,” said Harrison Pittman, Director of the National Agricultural Law Center. “Since early March we have received a steady stream of calls from producers, lawyers, lenders and many more, about a variety of hardships they’re facing as a result of the pandemic.”
To address these concerns, the NALC has created the COVID-19 Resource Library. Set up in a Q-and-A format, the Resource Library is a compilation of resources from various sources, such as state cooperative extension services, federal agencies and more.
According to Pittman, queries regarding various stimulus packages and their application to agriculture have been among the top questions NALC staff have been receiving.
“When the Paycheck Protection Program was first announced, there was considerable confusion regarding whether or not farming operations qualified,” Pittman said. “That, along with questions about H-2A employee qualification and the 500 employee limit, has been one of the most common questions we’ve received.”
These worries, paired with concerns about completing contracts, changes in federal regulations, and numerous H-2A labor questions, make up only a portion of the calls and emails the NALC has received since the start of the pandemic.
“This library is meant to provide answers to some of the questions we’ve been getting on an increasingly frequent basis,” Pittman said. “Because these issues can quickly change, we’ve included dates by very entry in order to ensure our stakeholders stay up to date.”
The Resource Library is divided up into topics such as “Labor & Employment” and “Direct Marketing,” and covers a variety of issues related to agriculture and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 Resource Library can be found here:https://bit.ly/3cd1IHH