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Genesee County Agriculture

Here you will find information about the number one industry in Genesee County - Agriculture. Whether you are looking for what to buy in season, careers in agriculture, events that are coming up or interested in starting your own farm operation, this is the place to be. 

Compliance Corner: Reopening Farms After the "Pause"

Click here for resources from New York Farm Bureau on reopening. 

COVID-19 Safety Plans Required for All Businesses in “New York Forward”

New York Forward is the state’s plan to begin re-opening in phases as regions of the state achieve certain COVID-19 management metrics. An important part of New York Forward is for all businesses to have a customized, written safety plan that details specifically how each business will prevent and manage COVID-19.

USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Whether your farm is large or small, if you’ve lost business due to the pandemic, you are now able to to apply for financial aid  under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. farmers.gov/CFAP

Click here for more information.

Interim Guidance for Prevention and Repsponse of COVID-19 at Farms

New York state has released official guidance specific to farms addressing COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). You can find the document titled “Interim Guidance for Prevention and Response of COVID-19 at Farms” at this link: https://agriculture.ny.gov/interim-guidance-prevention-and-response-covid-19-farms.

The document covers: cleaning and disinfection, face coverings, social distancing, high-risk locations, coordination with local health departments, employee health screening, quarantine/isolation, and farm-provided employee housing.

A companion document is a helpful checklist for farms to be sure they have covered every required item: https://agriculture.ny.gov/covid-19-operator-checklist-farms.

Also included is a tip sheet intended for farm workers (https://agriculture.ny.gov/covid-19-prevention-tips-farmworkers). This document is presently in English but should be available in more languages soon, and I recommend that you distribute it to all employees. Please carefully read the last section of the document titled “Empower Yourself,” this section informs workers about how to file complaints. Make sure that your business is in full compliance with all federal and state COVID-19-related sick leave and paid family leave requirements and that you are communicating this information to employees, see this post (https://agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu/2020/04/01/covid-19-employee-leave-and-farm-employers/) for more information.

Best Management Practices for U-Pick Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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U-Pick is a critical direct marketing approach for many of our farms and provides customers with a unique connection to fresh produce grown close to home. In light of what we understand about the spread of COVID-19, new management practices will be needed to protect your farm team and your customers. This document provides recommended practices and communication strategies for U-Pick operations for the 2020 season. Click Here for the document.

Tools Offered to Help New York Farms Manage Overtime Regulations

On Jan. 1, 2020 New York farms will have to pay overtime wages (1.5 times the ‘regular rate of pay’) for nearly all employees that work more than 60 hours a week. Researchers and extension educators from Cornell University Agricultural Workforce Development, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cooperative Extension and PRO-DAIRY, have developed several tools to help New York farms manage through these changes.

This spreadsheet tool is designed to help farm managers estimate how much overtime they would have to pay under their current employee work schedules. The tool can also be used to estimate costs of new work schedules. To use the tool, you will need to know current compensation levels and work schedules. Worksheets are provided for collecting or calculating that information in advance, if it is not readily available.

A new extension bulletin on “Adapting Your Labor Strategies to New York’s Revised Farm Labor Employment Laws” discusses the pro and cons of various management strategies that farms may consider in response to the new overtime rules. The guide does not make recommendations, but details the positive and negative implications of changes to work schedules, employee policies and farm expenses.

Please visit https://agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu/overtime to download these tools. You can contact Jennifer Ifft (jifft@cornell.edu) or Richard Stup (rstup@cornell.edu) for more information.

Farm Donations to Food Pantries Credit

Beginning January 1, 2018, New York State farmers may claim a new refundable tax credit for qualified food donations made to a food pantry, food bank, or other emergency food program. The credit is equal to 25 percent of the fair market value of qualified donations, with a maximum benefit of $5,000 per year. Please refer to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance website to see if you qualify for this tax benefit. https://www.tax.ny.gov/bus/farm-donations-credit.htm

Last updated June 1, 2020