TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Rural Center (KRC) has been listening and responding to questions, mostly from farmers and community leaders working quickly to respond to the new realities of the pandemic. Like many, KRC has responded virtually moving meetings, resources, and communicating information exclusively online. One tool KRC has curated is a webpage with an extensive list of COVID -19 guidance, resources, and FAQ’s specifically for farmers, ranchers, food businesses, and communities responding to the pandemic. It can be found at kansasruralcenter.org/covid19-guidance.
A few key takeaways are that producers are still ready and willing to get safe food to Kansans despite opening season of farmers markets being delayed or tentatively closed. Farmers need to know that it’s still okay to sell products to consumers. All following best practices for public safety, of course. There are more and more resources becoming available by state and national agencies and organizations to help both farmers and consumers make shifts in access to food and markets.
Among the resources KRC lists, the FAQ page tackles questions addressing how the shelter in place orders affect mobility and markets for farmers, grants and loans available to farms and small businesses, and how to purchase locally grown food from farmers.
Here in Kansas, organizations and agencies have created new COVID-19 resources such as best practices for farmers markets on the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s website and produce safety resources and webinars from K-State Extension. Many farmers are pivoting to online sales and many resources have become available on how to make that shift and the tools to do it.
Navigating the CARES Act aid options available specifically for farmers has so far proven confusing and overwhelming however many resources are becoming available to help clarify the options and processes. Farm Commons, a nonprofit that provides resources and services on farm law has provided several resources on farm eligibility and guidance on CARES Act aid provisions like the Paycheck Protection Program. Farmers’ Legal Action Group just released a “Farmers’ Guide to COVID-19 Relief” which focuses on how these various programs can provide relief to farmers. All of these resources and more are linked on KRC’s COVID-19 resource pages.
KRC is updating the webpage everyday with new and updated information and resources. For questions or comments on what may be helpful to farms and communities amid the pandemic please reach out to KRC at email@example.com or 866-579-5469.
The mission of KRC, founded in 1979, is to promote the long-term health of the land and its people through community-based research, education, and advocacy that advances an economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially just food and farming system in Kansas. For more information, visit kansasruralcenter.org.