Early options available for farms to support cash flow
American Farmland Trust, a national organization dedicated to keeping our rural lands in agricultural production, has announced their “Farmer Relief Fund” initiative. This program will offer direct-market producers cash grants of $1,000 each to help ease the effect of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus. This can include the closure of farmers markets, decreased or interrupted sales to restaurants and institutional buyers, or to makers who use farm products as inputs. The deadline to apply is April 23rd with grants awarded by May 1st. For more information, visit farmland.org/farmer-relief-fund.
Farm Service Agency (FSA) has made changes to their farm loan, disaster, conservation, and safety net programs to make it easier for customers to conduct business. While their county service centers are closed to the public, their staff are available to continue to work with the farming community by phone appointment. FSA has relaxed the loan-making process by extending the deadline for applicants to complete farm loan applications and preparing Direct Loans documents even if record searches cannot be completed because of closed government offices. FSA will continue to offer farm loans, commodity loans, farm storage facility loans, disaster assistance programs, safety net programs, conservation programs, and acreage reports with modifications meant to benefit the farmer and this situation’s unique challenges. For more information, contact your local service center or visit fsa.usda.gov.
This situation can bring a lot of stress and anxiety for farm owners and managers. It is important to remember that managing and addressing risks early on, rather than avoiding them, will provide decision makers more time to make sound action plans to manage cash flow and long term profitability. The only way to make accurate decisions is to know the farm’s current financial situation which will involve record-keeping and business analysis. For more information on creating financial statements for your farm, contact your lender or Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management Specialist. Additionally, NY FarmNet recently released a helpful guide to “Managing Financial Stress on the Farm in Uncertain Times” and their consultants are available for free and confidential financial and personal counselling. For more information, call 1-800-547-3276 or visit nyfarmnet.org.
For more information about any of these programs, updated lists of resources, assistance with your farm’s financial plans, or for access to materials without having a reliable internet connect, contact Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management Specialist, at 716-640-0522 or [email protected]
Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program specialists are here to help provide research-based resources and support during this challenging time. Their team of four specialists include Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management (716-640-0522 or [email protected]); Joshua Putman, Field Crops (716-490-5572 or [email protected]); Alycia Drwencke, Dairy Management (517-416-0386 or [email protected]); and Amy Barkley, Livestock Management (716-640-0844 or [email protected]). While specialists are working remotely at this time, they are still offering consultations via phone, text, email, videoconferencing, and mail. They are also providing weekly updates with timely resources and connections via email and hardcopy and virtual programming. To be added to their notification list, or for more information, contact Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Team Leader, at 716-640-0522, [email protected] or visit their website swnydlfc.cornell.edu.
If you would like more information about this topic, please call Katelyn Walley-Stoll at 716-640-0522 or [email protected]. For more information about Cornell Cooperative Extension, contact your county’s Association Executive Director. Allegany County – Laura Hunsberger, [email protected] or 585-268-7644. Cattaraugus County – Dick Rivers, [email protected] or 716-699-2377. Chautauqua County – Emily Reynolds, [email protected] or 716-664-9502. Erie County – Diane Held, [email protected] or 716-652-5400. Steuben County – Tess McKinley, [email protected], or 607-664-2301.