SBA Loan Opportunity for Covid-19 Relief
(3/31/2020) The Small Business Administration (SBA), currently has tools available for small businesses across the country to help them recover from economic damages caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Called Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), the SBA is currently taking applications from small businesses to apply. The loans can be taken out for a maximum of $2 million, have an interest rate of 3.75% for small business and 2.75% for non-profits, and have repayment timelines that can go as long as 30 years. Terms will be determined on a case-by-case basis based on a borrower’s ability to repay.
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. LMA members who wish to apply for these loans should click here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/.
For questions, please view the SBA Guide to the CARES Act or contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail email@example.com.
For LMA assistance in understanding the SBA loan process, LMA membership are encouraged to contact Pierce Bennett, firstname.lastname@example.org; (937)541-1287.
Critical Infrastructure – Travel Authorization Update
(4/2/2020) Below, you will find updated travel authorizations for auction employees and truckers, as well as new forms for dealers and auctioneers.
These letters are intended to aid individuals when interacting with law enforcement while traveling through areas that have restricted non-essential travel due to COVID-19 precautions.
On March 28, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published an updated list of critical infrastructure workers and explicitly included “[f]armers, farm workers, and agribusiness support services to include those employed in auction and sales….” As such, we have updated the following documents to include that instructive language and have also generated self-certification documents for our dealer/order-buyer members and auctioneers.
It should be noted that the critical infrastructure list as well as these travel documents are only advisory in nature. States, counties, and municipalities can place and enforce their own travel restrictions. We encourage all individuals involved in the livestock marketing business to be proactive in their communications with law enforcement in order to best facilitate their movement to and from their places of business.
Please note, certain states may have their own recommended travel documentation. One state of which we are aware is Texas. Please follow this link for Texas-specific travel documentation, which is made available by the Texas Department of Agriculture: https://www.texasagriculture.gov/Portals/0/forms/COMM/Essential_Worker_Travel_Form_3.25.2020.pdf
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the Livestock Marketing Association at (800)821-2048 or your Region Executive Officer.
Continuing Operations during COVID-19
(March 23, 2020) Livestock Marketing Association is hard at work ensuring you have the ability to continue conducting sales during the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation. Livestock auctions taking proactive measures to reduce crowd size have helped in this effort and must continue.
From a national perspective, livestock auctions can continue to operate. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and White House have deemed food supply to be critical infrastructure. This federal recommendation is backed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deeming food and Agriculture employees as part of the essential critical infrastructure workforce during COVID-19.
However, states may create their own rules. We’ve seen an increased number of states restricting crowds to less than 50 or even less than 10 people. In some areas, we are seeing stay at home orders. Thankfully, we believe livestock markets to be exempt as a part of the food supply.
Additionally, city and county officials may make their own rules in addition to state requirements. If you have not yet connected with your local political leadership and health department, you may want to reach out to explain that your business must continue to operate to allow livestock to continue moving in the food supply chain. Explain that meat cases all over the country are empty and livestock auction markets like yours are the primary source of the cows and bulls needed to make ground beef. You may also wish to share that your livestock auction is likely the only way local producers can generate needed cash flow during this difficult time.
Please also note, many states and local municipalities are requiring restaurants (and market cafes) move to offering takeout orders only and stop allowing dine-in service.
While we have been successful in keeping auctions open, this flexibility could be lost if we do not take preventative measures. I’ve included an LMA alert with some ideas on how you can adjust your business by reducing people in attendance and taking additional actions.
Suggested Strategies to Continue Operating
In order to keep markets open and to maintain business continuity across the industry, we must all follow all relevant local, state and federal mandates. If we do not act responsibly in taking necessary measures, we will lose the ability to operate.
We ask that you take these take steps to mitigate disease spread and create contingency plans accordingly. The following strategies may be beneficial to prepare your operations:
- Familiarize yourself with and follow rapidly changing local and state rules regarding assembly of crowds. If you need assistance interpreting relevant recommendations and mandates, please reach out to Chelsea Good at email@example.com/816-305-9540 or your Region Executive Officer;
- Work with your café operators to follow location-specific guidance which may include closure or offering to-go service only;
- Limit crowd sizes:
- Limit attendees in the arena to buyers only;
- Discourage children or anyone under the age of 18 to be in attendance at the sale;
- Discourage groups of people from congregating and, in particular, ask that they follow the CDC recommended 6-foot distance between individuals;
- Request that consignors deliver livestock and return home rather than remaining at the facility;
- Offer consignors flexibility in picking up their checks if they can’t wait for them to arrive by mail, such as delivery or pick up from their vehicle while remaining in parking lot;
- Evaluate all options to utilize web broadcast or phone bidding;
- Clearly communicate and enforce your policies:
- Update your website with instructions to customers and your plans for continued operation;
- Utilize your social media platforms to share fact-based information and your plans for continued operations. If you need help drafting your social media or website statements, please reach out to Kristen Parman at firstname.lastname@example.org/816-645-5916 or your Region Executive Officer.
- Put up signs to communicate with visitors. If you need help crafting sign language, please reach out to LMA;
- Make announcements from the auction block throughout the sale reminding everyone of expectations for crowd limits;
- Designate a staff person to monitor entry to the arena and/or regularly monitor the number of individuals present to stay within recommended crowd size limits;
- Limit attendees in the arena to buyers only;
- Take other preventative measures:
- Instruct any employee or visitor exhibiting symptoms of illness to remain home and request that any employee or visitor who is a member of a population of heightened vulnerability to consider avoiding areas where people are gathering;
- Provide ample opportunities for visitors and employees to wash hands following CDC best practices;
- Clean and disinfect all commonly used areas frequently including restrooms and restocking with soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer;
White House Lists Ag as Essential Critical Infrastructure
(March 20, 2020) Please read the Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. If you have any questions regarding individual state action please contact LMA Staff.
Develop Market Policy and Signs
(March 20, 2020) — For assistance in developing signage and policy for your auction, please email Kristen Parman at email@example.com or call 816-645-5916.
Temporary Hours of Service Exemption for Livestock Haulers
(March 18, 2020) — Due to the COVID-19 emergency relief effort, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has exempted livestock haulers from compliance with federal Hours of Service rules that limit drive time until at least April 12. Drivers wishing to haul under this exemption are suggested to print out and keep in their cab a copy of the Expanded Emergency Declaration, available here. The Expanded Emergency Declaration provides relief to those drivers hauling “food” and “immediate precursor raw materials… that are required and to be used for the manufacture of … food.”The FMCSA recently released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document available here, which specifically explains all classes of livestock are covered by the exemption and further explains how the exemption is to be used. Once the driver has returned to their “normal reporting location,” the driver must still receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty to rest.
If any LMA member has questions or experiences challenges using this exemption, please reach out to LMA General Counsel, Jara Settles, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-401-1651.
State by State Information
Livestock Markets CoVID 19 Guidance (3/27/2020)
Colorado FAQ Stay in Place Order (3/25/2020)
Livestock Markets Guidance COVID-19 (3/30/2020)
Livestock auction guidance from NDA (4/1/2020)
COVID-19 DOH Order (3/23/2020)
Letter to Livestock Market Operators (3/23/2020)
To date (3/23/2020), the CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. There is no evidence pets can spread COVID-19 and with the knowledge we have received from the CDC, there is no reason to think that any animals in the U.S. might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. For additional information and facts please visit the following websites:
CDC Coronavirus Website
AVMA Coronavirus Website
TAHC COVID-19 Website
TAHC COVID-19 FAQ
Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers (3/23/2020)