COVID-19 Updates

SBA Loan Opportunity for Covid-19 Relief

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.

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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 disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

For LMA assistance in understanding the SBA loan process, LMA membership are encouraged to contact Pierce Bennett, pbennett@lmaweb.com; (937)541-1287.

Critical Infrastructure – Travel Authorization

(March 24, 2020) The landscape of closures, crowd limits, stay-at-home orders, and shelter-in-place mandates is ever-changing and location specific. One thing that does not change is the need for livestock markets to stay open during the COVID-19 crisis. Americans need access to the safe and wholesome protein supplied by the livestock LMA members sell and buy every day. Markets can only stay open if their employees and the livestock haulers that ship livestock are able to freely travel to do their jobs.

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This need was even further cemented by the President’s statement that, “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.” As such, the Food and Agriculture industry as well as the transportation systems industry have been designated a “Critical Infrastructure Segment” under Presidential Policy Directive 21 and Department of Homeland Security emergency readiness programs implementing the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. 42 U.S.C. § 5195c(e).

We are providing a model letter that can be issued on your market’s letterhead and provided to employees and drivers to inform them of this guidance and to assist them in the event of movement restrictions in your area.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the Livestock Marketing Association at (800)821-2048 or your Region Executive Officer.

Worker Travel Letter – Download Word Document          Download PDF

Market letterhead here
 

Livestock Market Worker Travel Related to Critical Infrastructure

  1. Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21) designates the food and agriculture sector as a critical infrastructure sector.
  2. The President’s Coronavirus Guidance published on March 16, 2020 instructs employees of Critical Infrastructure Industries, such as the food and agriculture sector, to maintain normal work patterns during the global coronavirus outbreak.
  3. The Department of Homeland Security emergency readiness programs implementing the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. 42 U.S.C. § 5195c(e) identifies food and agriculture employees as critical infrastructure workers.
  4. This document certifies that the individual bearing this document is an employee of/worker for, and traveling to or from work in, a food or agriculture facility, the continued operation of which is vital for security, national economic security, national public health, and safety.
  5. As such, the individual in possession of this letter is a “critical infrastructure industry employee” of the Food and Agriculture industry and exempt from local restrictions such as curfews, shelter-in-place orders, and other mobility restrictions when reporting to, returning from, or performing his or her work functions. Please allow this individual to continue with his or her job in the interest of protecting public health and security.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact this worker’s employer _____________ at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Certified by:

 

______________________________ [company representative]

 

______________________________ [Employee Name]

Shipment of Supplies Letter – Download Word Document          Download PDF

Trucking company or market letterhead here
 

Shipment of Supplies (Livestock Related to Critical Infrastructure

  1. Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21) designates the food and agriculture sector as a critical infrastructure sector.
  2. The President’s Coronavirus Guidance published on March 16, 2020 instructs employees of Critical Infrastructure Industries, such as the food and agriculture sector, to maintain normal work patterns during the global coronavirus outbreak.
  3. The Department of Homeland Security emergency readiness programs implementing the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. 42 U.S.C. § 5195c(e) identifies food and agriculture employees as critical infrastructure workers.
  4. This document certifies that this vehicle is transporting a shipment of livestock within a sector that has been designated as critical infrastructure, the continued operation of which is vital for security, national economic security, national public health, and safety.
  5. As such, the individual in possession of this letter is a “critical infrastructure industry employee” of transportation and food and agricultural industry sectors and exempt from any state or local restrictions such as curfews, shelter-in-place orders, and other mobility restrictions when reporting to, returning from, or performing his or her work functions, and the critical materials conveyed in this shipment should be permitted to proceed. Please allow this individual to continue with his or her job in the interest of protecting public health and security

Certified by:

______________________________ [Shipping company representative]

 

______________________________ [Vehicle license plate or identification number]

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.

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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.

If you have questions or need anything contact Kristen Parman (816-645-5916 / kparman@lmaweb.com), or Chelsea Good (816-305-9540 / cgood@lmaweb.com), or your Regional Executive Officer.

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  cgood@lmaweb.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  kparman@lmaweb.com/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;
    • 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;

If you need assistance or have additional questions, please contact Kristen Parman at 816-645-5916/kparman@lmaweb.com, Chelsea Good at 816-305-9540/cgood@lmaweb.com, or your Region Executive Officer.

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 kparman@lmaweb.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 jsettles@lmaweb.com or 816-401-1651.

State by State Information

Arkansas

Guidance_for_Livestock_Auctions (3/24/2020)

Idaho

Statewide Stay Home Order (3/26/2020)
Essential Services (3/26/2020)

Iowa

Auction Market Guidance (3/23/2020)

Kansas

Livestock Markets Guidance COVID-19 (3/26/2020)

Missouri

Closure or Restrictions on Businesses Relating to Food Supply (3/24/2020)

New Mexico

COVID-19 DOH Order (3/23/2020)

Oklahoma

Letter to Livestock Market Operators (3/23/2020)

Tennessee

Letter to Livestock Markets (3/27/2020)
Letter to Farm Production Sales (3/27/2020)

Texas

Essential Worker Travel Form (3/25/2020)
Supporting Critical Agriculture (3/20/2020)

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

Washington

Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers (3/23/2020)