Resources for Food and Agriculture
Food Supply: Critical Infrastructure
- The Governor's March 19, 2020 Executive Order N-33-20, ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to follow the federal critical infrastructure sectors, which includes working in the food and agriculture sector.
- On March 19, 2020, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross reinforced the importance of the food supply chain as critical infrastructure and released the following guidance regarding COVID-19 and the Food Supply in California.
- On March 19, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a guidance with additional details regarding the food supply chain as critical infrastructure.
Guidance for Retail Food, Beverage, and Other Related Service Venues
- On March 16 ,2020, the state posted the following guidance for Retail Food, Beverage, and Other Related Service Venues
- The State of California considers Certified Farmers’ Markets (CFMs) an essential service in the critical food supply chain that allows consumers to purchase nutritious, California-grown agriculture straight from farmers. The guidance above is also for grocery stores, restaurants, food trucks, charitable food distribution sites, and beverage service venues including wineries and breweries.
- FDA, CDC, CDPH, and USDA have all stated that there are no reports at this time of human illnesses that suggests COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. The CDC is reporting that, in general, because of poor survivability of the coronavirus on surfaces, there is likely a low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated or frozen temperatures. For more information please see our blog post.
- You can also find information on FDA's COVID-19 website.
Inspections for Food Safety
- Food safety is a critical function and all state food inspection programs will continue, including inspections for leafy greens, milk, eggs, and other commodities. Inspectors will provide a five-day notification to ease the burden for processors and allow time for inspectors and staff to take precautions for social distancing. The Produce Safety Program (PSP) operates under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and will follow guidelines as set forth by FDA.
- Food inspectors are following CDC guidelines, including not traveling or working when feeling ill, washing hands regularly, maintaining person cleanliness, maintaining social distancing, not shaking hands and not touching their own faces. Inspection staff follow best food safety practices and any specific industry protocols when performing on-site inspections, which may range from using a hairnet to wearing gloves, booties or other protective gear, depending upon the environment. Inspectors are following all industry standards recommended by firms, including washing and sanitizing all field gear between farm visits, or wearing any protective gear a firm requires.
Resources for Food and Agriculture Employers
Employee Health and Safety Resource for Employers:
- The California Labor Workforce and Development Agency has provided resources for both Employers and Workers regarding how to deal with COVID-19.
- The California Department of Industrial Relations maintains an FAQ page regarding sick leave for people possibly affected by COVID-19.
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) resource page about Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19.
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH) listing of statewide local health services/offices, for the situations where the FDA recommends contacting your local health department.
- Contact the resource and referral (R&R) statewide consumer education hotline at 1-800-KIDS-793 or go to the R&R website for child care referrals.
Access to PPE and Sanitation Supplies
- CDC Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE and Equipment, intended for healthcare professionals but applicable to others.
- Please contact your county Office of Emergency Services (OES) branch to coordinate the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and related items, including sanitation and janitorial supplies for your food production or processing business. We will update this page as additional guidance and resources become available.
- If there is an acute shortage and you are unable to obtain PPE and related items through your county OES branch, please contact CDFA and provide specific information on what items are running low, how much you have left, and what the impact will be to the food supply chain.
USDA Information on H2A
Specific Resources for Regions or Associations
- Western Growers COVID-19 Resources Page, including What to Do if an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
- Monterey County 2019 Novel Coronavirus resource page, including an Advisory for Agricultural Worker Protection during COVID-19 Crisis on the Central Coast of California
- National Milk Producers Federation Dairy Farm Handbook Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention and Management
Labor and Workforce Development Agency
- California Labor and Workforce Development Agency resources for workers, interim guidance for protecting workers, and employer assistance.
Economic Resources for Businesses
Economic Resources for Small Business Owners
- The California Employment Development Department is maintaining a resource page including resources for Employers.
- This page includes information on accessing Disaster Unemployment Assistance
- The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has compiled helpful information for employers, employees and all Californians as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- U.S. Small Business Association is providing information on low-interest federal disaster loans updated as the situation progresses.
- California State Treasurer is providing google docs listing federal, state, and local government programs for small businesses and tax relief.
Visit the CDFA Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) webpage or Farmer Resource Portal for information about registering to deliver produce directly to customers, or to view a list of producers registered as CSA Producers.
CDFA Program Updates
Public Meetings: CDFA is working diligently to plan and implement measures for our employees while continuing to provide essential resources to the food and agriculture industries. Due to COVID-19, physically attending board and program meetings will be delayed or otherwise affected until further notice. CDFA staff will be available to call into board meetings and will be staying in constant communication with the industry. If you have a question about a specific public meeting, or are interested in requesting reasonable accommodation, please contact the relevant CDFA program.
Plant Pest and Animal Disease Detection and Response Activities
- This work is critical to the long-term continuity of the food supply. The cascading effect of not doing monitoring for and responding to pest/disease outbreaks would have severe repercussions for the supply chain. CDFA plans to continue all our pest exclusion, detection, rapid response, management, and diagnostic functions with appropriate social distancing and/or alternative measures such as personal protective equipment. We also plan to continue in our role of providing support to County Agricultural Commissioners' offices involved in these essential functions.
- The CDFA Commercial Feed Regulatory Program (CFRP) has shifted field activities to focus on end-product testing, when possible, in an effort to adhere to social distancing and minimize additional stress on firms. We will continue to respond to all animal health-related consumer complaints in order to meet those directives. This plan is in place through mid-April and will continue to evolve as information is received. Please do not hesitate to contact the field staff member in your area with any questions or concerns. We want to ensure that our feed and livestock industries are maintained in California. Additionally, please reach out to the field staff member in your area if you are anticipating a feed ingredient deficit so that the program can alert the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal-OES) resources of the issue.
- Animal feed is considered critical infrastructure and companies will be able to continue to ship feed throughout the state, even in restricted areas. Ensuring no disruptions in the feed and livestock supply chain is a top priority for CDFA. Please notify CFRP immediately should you have any issues with the movement of feed products.
- CDFA inspection staff will follow all biosecurity procedures, including wearing masks, gloves and booties upon entering any feed manufacturing facility.
Grant Program Activities
- CDFA recognizes that due to COVID-19, grant requirements such as outreach events, field days, etc. will be delayed or otherwise affected. CDFA will work with grantees to the extent possible to adjust the Scope of Work and timelines. For example, some of our grant programs, such as our dairy digester grants, are allowing flexibility to satisfy community engagement/outreach obligations by hosting online events instead of physical events. Please reach out directly to your grant contact for more specific information.
For the following grant programs, please email email@example.com or call (916) 657-3231
- California Agriculture License Plate Grant Program
- California State Trade Expansion Program
- Spay and Neuter Grant Programs
- Pet Lover's License Plate Grant Program
- Animal Homeless Cruelty Fund
- Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
For the following Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation (OEFI) grant programs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (916) 654-0433
- Dairy Digester Research and Development Program
- Healthy Soils Program
- State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program
- Alternative Manure Management Program
- Technical Assistance grants
- For the Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Programs, please email email@example.com.
Licensing and Permit Activities
- CDFA recognizes that due to COVID-19, licensing and permits may not occur in a timely manner. Certain licenses and permits may be prioritized based on criticality to the food supply. As the prioritization and delays may vary, please reach out directly to program staff for more information on the impact to each particular program. Their contact information can be found on their respective web pages.
Fairs and Expositions
- Due to COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends against any gatherings. As such, many fairgrounds have canceled events. Please contact your local fairgrounds for an update on the status of your local event and the CDPH website for the most updated gathering guidance.
- As California fairgrounds continue to support and serve their local communities and provide essential resources during emergencies, F&E staff is ready and available to assist. F&E staff will be available to call into board meetings and will be staying in constant communication with the fair industry. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or emergencies. Our main line number is (916) 999-3000.
CDFA Office of Farm to Fork
- For questions regarding the California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F), please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest Updates / Press Releases from Key State and Federal Partners
- California Department of Public Health
- Labor Workforce and Development Agency resources
- Governor's Office press releases
- State Treasurer press releases
- Information from the CDC
- USDA press releases
- County update and resource page
Information and resources for this COVID-19 emergency response are growing and evolving rapidly. We will continue to update this site as the situation progresses. Please address any questions to CDFA at OfficeOfPublicAffairs@cdfa.ca.gov.