Farmers and ranchers are resilient. FarmLink has always focused on farmers’ well-being, and we are ready to help support the resilience of your business. Over the past couple of weeks, we have been speaking directly with farmers and ranchers about the challenges they are facing because of coronavirus and COVID-19. We have also organized solutions to assist you. This message outlines what FarmLink can do for farmers and ranchers.
We have adapted our operations to maintain services during this challenging time. All staff members continue to work and are available to serve you. California FarmLink is fully open for business. We are ready to share knowledge, provide fair financing, and to help establish secure land tenure.
FARM & RANCH LOAN SERVICES
If you are experiencing difficulties with your finances, we are here for you! To help farmers and ranchers withstand a loss of income and other business interruptions, we offer the following types of support:
Flexible Payment Plans and Deferment: We can defer loan payments and restructure existing loans. It is especially important to call your loan representative if you think you will have difficulty making your next loan payment.
Emergency Loans: Farmers and ranchers experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 may be eligible for loans of up to $20,000 at 0% interest, with no payments required for six months. Eligibility is largely based on repayment history and pre-COVID-19 income. Current and former borrowers will be prioritized. New borrowers are also eligible and encouraged to apply. Reach out to your loan representative for more details, or complete our loan inquiry form. This program may be expanded or modified as we learn more about the impacts you are experiencing.
Standard Lending to Continue: FarmLink will continue to offer operating, equipment/infrastructure, land purchase and land refinance loans to farmers and ranchers who cannot access conventional financing.
Business Assistance: As always, FarmLink staff are available to help you navigate challenges and opportunities you face, whether or not they are related to COVID-19. We will connect you with the people and resources that can help. For example, if you have loans with other lenders, we are ready to listen to your concerns and help you have conversations to overcome these challenges.
Process Improvements: In an effort to improve our services, and help us all follow public health guidelines, we are now able to accept electronic signatures on most loan documents. We can also disburse loan funds via ACH/direct deposit.
LAND ACCESS & LAND TENURE
Communication is more important than ever. If you are concerned that you will not be able to make a payment on your land lease, please contact your FarmLink regional coordinator. Our staff are ready to listen to your concerns and help you prepare for a conversation with your landlord. In addition, ask us about the California Agricultural Mediation Program. The mediation program provides free services to farmers and ranchers who are facing difficulty with leases, debt, disputes with neighbors, and other issues. As they describe it, “mediation is a way to resolve disputes using an impartial person to assist parties to negotiate their differences.”
GENERAL CONCERNS (INCLUDING SALES & MARKETING) AND PARTNERS
California FarmLink understands that we cannot provide a solution to every farmer. The publications in our Resource Library address topics such as land leases, the resilience of your farm business, and more.
We also encourage you to contact our partner organizations who are offering support. Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) has created a web page with information and resources for farmers who are being impacted, and an online survey to learn about your situation with sales. We know that farmers who have been selling to restaurants and food services are having particular difficulty right now in shifting to new markets.
In addition to CAFF, we work with a network of partners across the state that each have particular expertise. For example, CCOF has an emergency fund for certified organic farmers. Please reach out to your FarmLink loan representative or regional coordinator for help taking advantage of our network.
Again, during this time of uncertainty, communication is more important than ever. We are here for you.
|Service||Summary of Services||Contact Person|
|Loan Servicing||● Flexible Payment Plans and Deferment: We can defer loan payments and restructure existing loans. It is especially important to call your loan representative if you think you will have difficulty making your next loan payment.
● If you have an FSA loan and are worried about making payments, please let us know.
831.425.0303 ext. 7022
|Land Tenure Services||Please reach out to your regional Program Coordinator if you have questions or concerns about your current lease agreement or if you would like help to develop a new written agreement. We are also still available to assist with land-linking.||North Coast: firstname.lastname@example.org
831.425.0303 ext. 7018
|Emergency Loans||Farmers and ranchers experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 may be eligible for loans of up to $20,000 at 0% interest, with no payments required for two years. Eligibility is largely based on repayment history and pre-COVID-19 income. Current and former borrowers will be prioritized.||Reach out to your loan representative for more details, or complete our loan inquiry form.|
We have also compiled a list of additional resources available through our partner organizations on the following page. If you have any question or need assistance, please call or email us:
|Organization||Summary of Services||Contact Person|
|Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)||● Marketing & Buyer Support: Fill out this Form for assistance.
● Employers and Job Seekers can use their job portal.
|Visit their website.
|University of California Cooperative Extension||An Operational Continuity Planning can help with emergency planning to keep farms going when unexpected events happen.|
|Kitchen Table Advisors (KTA)||Our partners at KTA have assembled an excellent list of resources and ways we can support our communities during Coronavirus.||Visit their website.|
|National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC)||NYFC has created a survey and compiled a variety of resources.||Visit their website.|
|EcoFarm||Resources for farmers; updated regularly.||Visit their website.|
|Small Business Administration||The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus. However, not all farm businesses apply.||Visit their website.|
|CA Department of Public Health||The department has issued food safety guidelines for retail food services, including farmers markets.||View guidelines|
|California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)||Updates on the latest thinking for organic operations, and how to plan ahead.||View website|
|Small Business Majority||Their on-demand webinar includes: on how to apply for unemployment insurance work-sharing programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility, Healthcare updates for MediCal and Covered California, an overview of California’s Paid Family Leave program, funds for employees in high-impact industries across the state.||Register to view webinar|
|Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)||SBDC can help you navigate available resources, answer your business questions and be a trusted partner for your business.||Find the SBDC nearest you here.|
|El Pajaro CDC||SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan applications (EIDL). If you want to learn more about the SBA disaster loan guidelines check this on-line webinar.||831.722.1224
|CAMEO||CAMEO has gathered some resources that will be helpful for our members and their clients.||Visit their website.|
|US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce||Resources Document to help Hispanic and minority-owned small businesses prepare to safeguard their enterprise with lending, grant options, and financial support|
|Bernoulli Finance||They created the Phoenix, an easily-searchable database of business-relief programs.|
|Undocumented Farmers & Workers|
|CA Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA)||CIYJA has compiled a list of resources available throughout the state of California.||Visit their website.|
|UndocuFund||UndocuFund is being revived to help those in the undocumented community who are struggling due to COVID-19. Complete their application to be added to their wait list.||Visit their website.|
|Immigrant Rising||Immigrant Rising created a comprehensive list of resources with everything from health guidance to labor laws.||Resource List|
|Electricity/utilities||Six utilities serving more than 21 million Californians have announced that they will not shut off customers’ power for non-payment as the coronavirus continues to disrupt daily life.|
|National Farmers Union (NFU)
American Farm Bureau Federation
|Free online training, including understanding sources of stress and connecting farmers and ranchers with appropriate mental health and other resources.||Visit their website.|
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention||The CDC provides guidance for managing stress and anxiety during the Coronavirus outbreak. View their website.
|Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)|