Onion Industry Information regarding Coronavirus
The government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak is of paramount importance to the onion industry and the coronavirus as it affects almost every facet: from workforce issues to supplies. Below is a list of resources for industry members affected by the outbreak.
Jan. 12, 2021
The NOA along with several other specialty crop organizations in the United States signed off on letters to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in thanks for a $100 million aid package to specialty crop producers, with some suggestions on how to use the money, such as helping organizations purchase personal protection gear for employees, reimbursing companies for their Covid- or vaccination-related expenses, as well as marketing of fresh produce. Read the letter to Perdue here. Read the letter to NASDA here.
In a letter to U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, the NOA and other organizations addressed how the ag industry kept working throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and suggested ways to improve the situation. “Farmers have already incurred substantial worker safety costs during 2020 and face additional costs going forward. We ask for a system that helps offset both past and future costs, as additional efforts in 2021 will be required to keep our agricultural employees safe. Read the full letter here.
Sept. 24, 2020
Several agriculture agencies sign off on letter to Vice President Mike Pence and the White House Coronavirus Task Force seeking increased federal steps and new resources to help farmers, ranchers and growers across the country protect their employees from the novel coronavirus. See the letter here.
Sept. 23, 2020
The USDA has made available $14 billion for continuing assistance to agricultural producers who continue to face hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Onion producers are eligible and must apply by Dec. 11 to qualify. See the full press release here.
May 27, 2020
Senate leaders penned a letter to President Donald Trump encouraging his administration to continue to think of small businesses that rely on seasonal workers through the H2-A and H2-B programs. Read the letter here
May 19, 2020
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced up to $16 billion in direct financial aid to farmers for crop losses related to coronavirus. This aid will give farmers or entities up to $250,000 apiece for losses related to coronavirus from Jan. 15-April 15. Farmers can begin applying for aid on May 26. See announcement here
May 11, 2020
The National Onion Association sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting an onion-specific aid program of $16 million. The NOA argues that current aid programs do not sufficiently help the majority of America’s onion producers during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the letter here
May 5, 2020
The National Onion Association is one of many signatories on a letter to Congressional leaders affirming the produce industry’s safe handling and guidance of agricultural workers. Specifically, the letter refutes accusations that agricultural workers are not being protected amid the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here
April 15, 2020
The Department of Homeland Security has has temporarily lifted the three-year limits afforded to H2-A seasonal workers to avoid disruptions in the nation’s food supply. Read the temporary rule here
April 6, 2020
Several produce industry agencies, including the National Onion Association, have signed off on a letter to the USDA seeking a $5 billion Produce Market Stabilization Fund from March 1 – June 30 to help those in the industry affected by the Pandemic. Read the letter here
April 3, 2020
The National Onion Association has signed on to a letter to the USDA and the U.S. National Economic Council urging the continued free movement via shipping containers to international markets of critical food and agricultural products. Read the letter here
Department of Homeland Security issues temporary travel ban with Mexico. This limits temporarily the travel of individuals from Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Mexico border to “essential travel” only until April 20. Read the document here
- If you work in any capacity of growing food, inspecting food for safety, or delivering food, you are on the list of essential workers that will not be required to stay home. Check the list here
- In case of a shelter-in-place order, you’ll want to keep your essential employees working. Here are some sample travel forms
- The USDA will share updates and resources related to the coronavirus as it affects the H2-A workforce program here
- Letter to state governors requesting uniformity in issuance of travel forms/regulations for essential workers. Download letter here
- The NOA signed onto a letter from the Pesticide Policy Coalition to the president applauding efforts to protect the nation’s food supply and workforce. Read the letter here
- If you are a part of the “essential workforce,” download this letter to carry with you at all times during your work day.
- You may be eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. Your questions answered here
- The NOA has signed onto a letter from United Fresh Produce Association and Western Growers urging the USDA to develop a market stabilization plan to help the fruit and vegetable sector that was devastated by the shutdown of the foodservice supply chain. Read the letter here