COVID-19 Information for Agriculture and Food Businesses
DACF continues to ensure functions critical to the agency and industry needs are met and carried out in the interest of public safety and public health. To keep our agricultural producers, businesses, and service providers as up-to-date as possible on health and safety issues with the ongoing COVID-19 situation, DACF will maintain the most recent information and guidance from the Maine Centers for Disease Control and our federal and state partners. We are in contact with producers and agricultural organizations across Maine to try and find effective ways to minimize the negative impact on growers and address your concerns and issues. Please continue to reach out, and we will do our best to respond and share as much information as we can during this time.
On this page:
- Essential Services Interim Guidance
- Financial Resources for Farmers, Producers, Loggers, Truckers, and Wood Processing Facilities
- Resources for Planning & Responding to COVID-19 for Farm and Forestry Producers
- Cleaning and Sanitizing
- Food Safety
- Farmers’ Markets
- Farm Labor
- Resources for Veterinarians, Animal Shelters, Kennels & Pet Owners
- Find Local Food and Food Assistance
- Other Resources
- Agriculture and Food Interim Guidance (PDF)
- Horticulture Interim Guidance (PDF)
- Agriculture/Animal Care Interim Guidance (PDF)
- Pesticide Applicators and Pesticide Dealers/Distributors Interim Guidance (PDF)
Guidance documents last updated April 6, 2020.
Note that the Department’s essential services guidance documents provide additional context to the Governor’s emergency proclamation of March 24, 2020. However, the proclamation does not compel any business designated as essential to continue to operate. The Department recognizes that the practicalities of and risks posed by staying open as a business can be difficult during these unprecedented times. It is ultimately your decision as a business owner to continue to stay open, adjust your schedules and routines, or to shut down.
- Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 Information
- COVID-19 Prevention, Symptoms, FAQs
- Maine CDC COVID-19 Information
- Maine 2-1-1 COVID-19 Resources
The federal government recently passed the Phase Three Coronavirus Package which included the Coronavirus Relief Fund ($150B), the Agriculture Secretary’s Relief Fund ($9B), and USDA Commodity Credit Corporation funding ($14B). The Department will update this page as more details emerge regarding how these funds will be made available to food producers and farmers.
- American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund: AFT’s Farmer Relief Fund 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.
- New England Grassroots Environmental Fund: Offering $1,000 rapid relief funding
- The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has several loan and servicing programs aimed at farmers and producers. Please reach out directly to FSA in Maine to learn more.
- Update from FSA regarding program changes to help customers
- Farm Loans Overview (PDF)
- Emergency Loan Program (PDF)
- Microloan Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Loan Servicing Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Additional fact sheets can be found at USDA.gov.
- FSA Maine County Contacts (DOCX)
- Small Business Administration (SBA)
- The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.
- The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Program (EID) was recently approved for Maine. Any questions relating to potential producer eligibility should be directed to the SBA.
- Details of the SBA’s EID program (PDF)
- SDA overview of the Economic Injury Disaster program parameters and eligibility (PDF)
- SCORE Maine is a resource partner of the SBA and provides business mentorship to small businesses.
- USDA Rural Development
- USDA RD has programs to assist agricultural producers and small businesses. Scroll down for business program information.
- IRS Guidance on paid leave tax credits for small/med businesses
- Maine’s Annual Current Use Tax Application Deadline Extension to July 1
- UMaine Cooperative Extension Weekly Farmer Zoom Meetings
- CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- Maine Forest Products Council
- Professional Logging Contractors of Maine
- Forest Resources Association
- Using Disinfectants to Control the COVID-19 Virus
- Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers, etc.
- DACF Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Food Manufacturing Facilities and/or Retail Food Stores for COVID-19 (PDF)
- Suggestions for U-Pick farms (PDF)
- DACF Statement to Consumers Regarding the Safety of Maine Food (PDF)
- USDA Food Safety and COVID-19
- USDA Press Release re Food Safety Inspections
- FDA Food Safety and COVID-19
- FDA FSMA and COVID-19
- USDA FSIS - Food Safety Related to Meat and Poultry
- UMaine Cooperative Extension Livestock and COVID-19
- UMaine Cooperative Extension Livestock Bulletin/Handling Farm Disruptions
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Dairy Workers (English)
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Dairy Workers (Spanish)
- The Department continues to monitor announcements from USDA and the Department of State regarding the status of processing critical H-2A Visas for temporary agricultural workers with partner countries.
- H-2A Visa Program
- Legal Food Hub COVID-19 Unemployment Overview (PDF)
- Maine Dept. of Labor Unemployment Website
- Legal Food Hub COVID-19 Employee Sick Time and Leave (PDF)
- Maine Farm Labor Link
- Maine Veterinarian Guidance Letter (PDF)
- American Veterinary Medical Association and COVID 19
- CDC: Animals and Coronavirus Disease
- Humane Society: Coronavirus FAQ
- USDA FAQ on Companion Animals (PDF)
- Intake guidance for pets coming from homes affected by COVID-19
- Farm Product and Pickup Directory
- MOFGA Certified Operations
- Online Ordering Platforms
- TEFAP: DACF is currently receiving and distributing food from USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) on a regular basis. This food is distributed through a network of pantries statewide. Check with your local pantry for operating hours.
- Maine Senior FarmShare Program (MSFSP) update coming soon.
- Maine Schools Providing Meals to Students During Closures
- Good Shepherd Food Bank’s list of Maine Hunger Relief Agencies
- Retail Association of Maine
- MGFPA COVID-19 Resources for Retailers & Food Producers
- Beginning Farmer Resource Network
- Updates and Information
Notice of Temporary Building Closure
- DACF’s Deering Building, which houses the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, and Harlow Building, which houses the Maine Forest Service, are temporarily closed to the public. Should you require assistance, please call (207) 287-3200. Thank you.