COVID 19 Daily Farmers and Strawberry Update 3/27/2020

— Written By

COVID 19 Daily Farmers and Strawberry Update 3/27/2020

Important Content: 

  • Spray recommendations for Gray Mold and Anthracnose
  • Shelter in Place and Survey Information from the NCDA&CS
  • New Local Food Online Sale FAQ here

Information from Whit Winslow, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS):

Today, Governor Cooper just signed Executive Order No. 121 “Stay-at-Home” (attached). The Order is effective Monday, March 30, 2020, at 5 p.m. and will remain in effect for 30 days. *Where State Order and Local Order differ, the more restrictive Order applies. 

Here a list on Local Orders by County.

FAQs:

Per EO121, can we continue our limited operations (in compliance with EO118) as an agricultural business? Read:

  • EO121: Section 2. C. 7.
  • EO121: Section 2. C. 30.
  • EO121: Section 2. H.

Due to my physical restrictions, I have out of town family wanting to come help? Read:

  • EO121: Section 1. 3. iv.
  • EO121: Section 2. 5.

Will the rules set by EO118 be extended beyond the original date of March 31, 2020? Read:

  • EO121: Section 2. H.
  • EO121: Section 7.

Can my employees still come to work – is my operation considered “essential infrastructure”? Read:

  • EO121: Section 2. C. 1.
  • EO121: Section 2. C. 2.
  • EO121: Section 2. C. 8.

IMPORTANT: document as method to notify law enforcement or anyone else that a person is involved in the essential agriculture industry. Please have every employee carry one:

Notice of Essential Food and Agriculture Employee (PDF)

Take our survey:

Please take our COVID-19 Survey. The survey runs until 3/30 and is important for us to determine how we can support you best. The survey is anonymous and will only take 3 min.

TAKE OUR COVID-19 SURVEY

STRAWBERRY UPDATES:

IMPORTANT: The UGA Laboratory Testing Service in Tifton is currently NOT accepting samples for fungicide resistance testing.

Following recommendations were made by Dr. Guido Schnabel and Dr. Phillip Brennan:

  • primarily use multisites such as thiram and captan to control Botrytis and Anthracnose
  • Use single site FRAC Codes when infection pressure increases (prior to major rain events (more than 24 hours of rain at mild temperatures)). Please use the NC State Weather Based Forecasting Tool to predict spray needs. It will take a few seconds to load. 
  • Do not use the same FRAC code twice in a row and not more than twice in a season
  • Do not use FRAC1 and FRAC11 for Botrytis control (too many resistance issues)
  • If you are using FRAC7/11 mixtures, preferably use Merivon and Luna Sensation over Pristine
  • Switch and Miravis Prime contain fludioxonil (FRAC 12), which is currently the heavy hitter of anthracnose and botrytis. Those products should also not be overused. Do not apply any product containing fludioxonil more than 2 to 3 times per season. 
  • Try to avoid QoIs (Abound, Pristine) as much as possible.

First peak in Results from NCDA&CS Agritourism Survey (provided by Annue Baggett and Christina Harvey, NCDA&CS).

This survey will still be analyzed. Here just a quick peak view: Only 6% of all strawberry farms that responded to the survey were not open for business at this point of time and will determine COVID-19 responses at the time of opening.

96% of open strawberry farms have taken actions as response to COVID-19: putting up signage, Cancelling events, ensure that handwashing supplies will be on farm, Limiting farm tours; The economic impact will still have to be determined.

Many farms also think about reducing or cancelling U-Pick operations for this year, and moving into pick to go options. In U-Pick operations, customers are planned to be separated 

How can I help my community?

Please work with churches and other community leaders together. We have put together a list of how to help your community on our NC State Horticulture COVID-19 Farming Resources page. Please also find the CEFS response, contact the interfaith food shuttle and the community food peer network if you want to help! Also, find a food bank near you.

If you don’t have the time and resources to donate food, money, or to volunteer, the best thing you can do is stay home. Follow orders from your local government if they install a shelter-in-place order, and provide encouraging words to your neighbors and family members.

If you are in need of assistance, here are some links to food and nutrition resources:

We also urge you to practice social distancing, provide safe work environments for your staff and employees, and to take care of your own health and wellbeing. Here are some links to advice and resources that should help people cope, process, and maintain their health during these trying times. We hope to expand resources on this kind of support in the coming weeks.

Food Safety

In addition to providing UPick, Community Garden, and Farmers Market Guidelines, NCSU extension has also released Farm Stand Guidelines. These documents are meant to help growers keep their employees, customers, volunteers, and selves safe and healthy during the pandemic.

NCSU: COVID-19 Food Safety Resources

FDA: Food Safety and COVID-19

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=sjDuwc9KBps&app=desktop#dialog (grocery shopping)

Labor

The NC Farmworker Health Program put together a document to help farmers assess an employee reporting a fever or cough. The FDA also has a helpful FAQ website that addresses what to do if an employee falls ill with COVID-19.

The CDC has put together a series of posters and factsheets on COVID-19 in both English and Spanish. The webpage you’re taken to also has a map of farmworker health clinics in NC . Please ensure that all of your farmworkers are informed and feel safe working on your farm. 

Marketing & Sales

Farms need to adapt to new markets and sale operations during this health crisis. In order to set up online ordering platforms, please consider joining Debbie Roos for her free webinar. This class will teach farmers how to set up online stores for free using Square. The webinars are free, but you must register to claim your spot. Her next two classes are scheduled as follows:

If you can’t attend these webinars, please see these other resources to create online stores for free: 9 Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders.

Please find the Local Food Online Sale Q+A here

As the weekend approaches, please see the list of NC farmers markets and their operating statuses at the COVID-19: Farming Resources page. Please also see the section entitled “Alternative Sales” for more ideas, information, and resources pertaining to sales operations during the pandemic.

Daily NC and Global COVID-19 Update

As of 3/27/2020, 3:55 p.m.: a total of 15,136 people in NC were tested for the virus. 763 people in NC were tested positive, 3 people have died in NC due to COVID-19.

NCDHHS Coronavirus Information Page

As of 3/27/2020, 8:36 p.m.: 595,800 people worldwide are known to be infected with the virus. 27,394 people worldwide have died due to COVID-19.

World-Wide Covid-19 GIS Tracker  

This post was written by Emma Volk (evolk@ncsu.edu) and Mark Hoffmann