Update on Oregon Tilth’s advocacy work on COVID-19
Our staff are working the phones, sitting in on meetings, and pushing out communications to policymakers to represent organic food and farming throughout this crisis.
Here’s a recap of what we’ve done and opportunities we’re pursuing to get more resources and financial programs to you:
Access to markets, loans and financial support
- In April, we urged Oregon legislators to make sure farms can participate in the Small Business Administration programs emergency funds (EIDL).
- Impact: Wyden, Merkley Urge Feds to Make Farmers and Agricultural Businesses Eligible for COVID-19 Economic Injury Grants
- Opportunity: EIDL is now accepting applications from farmers and ranchers, as well as food businesses
- We joined over 750 food and farm organizations in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, calling on the USDA to work with urgency and creativity to provide direct aid to agricultural producers.
- We’re working with partners to ensure direct markets (i.e., farmers’ markets, farm stands, CSAs, etc.) are recognized as essential and open for business.
- We’re leading the conversation to expand and increase the organic Cost Share program to partner with certifiers for fund distribution, and make payments to organic operations now (versus later in the year).
Protection and support services for food supply chain workers
- We participated in conference calls with Congressman Blumenauer, Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden of Oregon, pushing to extend support services for farmworkers, food supply workers, and retaining current wages.
- We endorsed the Oregon Worker Relief Fund to support essential farmworkers and food supply workers eligibility for unemployment insurance and relief programs.
- We provided key feedback on a joint letter from Congressman Blumenauer and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree to Democratic leadership to extend support services to farmworkers and retain current work wages.