t. (518) 561-7450
f. (518) 561.0183
e. clinton@cornell.edu
w. cceclinton.org

Weekly Digest: 10/21

USDA Under Secretary Ted McKinney to Meet Virtually with NYFB Members on Oct. 27

NYFB will be joined by USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney, on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., to provide an update on trade. The update will include the latest information on the Phase 1 trade deal with China, USMCA update, and the United States’ trade negotiations efforts. All NYFB members are invited to attend the event. To register for the meeting, click here.

NYS Department of Labor Releases Guidance on Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

The New York State Budget Bill signed by Governor Cuomo on April 3, 2020, enacted a new sick and safe leave law that requires all employers in New York, regardless of size, to provide annual sick leave to their employees. In most circumstances, the leave must be paid. This law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021. However, employers are already required to start accounting for hours worked by employees as employees began accruing leave Sept. 30, 2020, 180 days after the Budget Bill was signed. On Oct. 19, the New York State Department of Labor released guidance and a FAQ regarding the new paid sick leave law. Be sure to look for Compliance Corner in the November issue of Grassroots which will outline this guidance in detail.

CFAP 2: What You Need to Know to Apply Webinar

Farmers are invited to join Cornell Cooperative Extension, along with USDA Farm Service Agency Executive Directors, to get updated information on the new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2). This program provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions and assisted with the associated marketing costs. USDA has made several updates to the program and payment rates from the first round of CFAP payments. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 6:30-8:00 p.m., and is free to join. Producers interested in attending can register here.

USDA, USTR Seek Experts for Trade Advisory Committees

The USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) are accepting applications for new members to serve on seven agricultural trade advisory committees. Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) advise USDA and USTR on operating existing U.S. trade agreements, on negotiating new agreements, and on other trade policy matters. To be considered for candidacy, applicants must have significant expertise in both agriculture and international trade matters. Committee members, who serve four-year terms, represent a cross-section of U.S. food and agricultural stakeholders. They must be U.S. citizens, qualify for a security clearance, and be willing to serve without compensation for time, travel or expenses. The committees hold frequent conference calls and generally meet in Washington twice a year. Application instructions are available here. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 13, 2020. Any applications received after the deadline will be considered for future appointments as appropriate. Click here for more information or e-mail ATACs@fas.usda.gov.

Please Submit Farm Labor Wage Board Testimony A coalition of agricultural groups is reminding members that letters and videos can still be submitted to the NYS Department of Labor regarding the Farm Labor Wage Board that is looking at the 60-hour overtime threshold. A 2019 State law created the three-person board at the Department of Labor to determine if 60 hours or something less than 60 hours per week is the right number of hours before overtime starts for farmworkers in the state. The Wage Board wrapped up a series of virtual hearings last week, but if you could not attend or have not submitted testimony, it is not too late. The board will continue to receive letters and videos with your input until Oct. 31, 2020. Farm employees have the choice to submit something as well. Here are some suggested ways.

  1. Create a video message for the Wage Board . Use your smartphone to create a short video message that can be sent to the Wage Board. Employees could ask someone on the farm to record them or they could do it themselves.
  2. Send a letter to the Wage Board . If you would rather write a letter to the Wage Board, it can be sent directly to the Wage Board.

For employees, these are suggestions they can include in their video or written message:

  • Your name
  • Type of farm (vegetable? fruit? dairy?)
  • How many years have you been working on New York farms?
  • If you are a guest worker or migrant worker, where does your family live?
  • Do you think the overtime limit of 60 hours per week should be lowered or kept the same?
  • Why?
  • Do you get some overtime pay?
  • What will you do if you cannot get enough work hours in New York?

Your written or video message can be sent to the Wage Board through the following email address: wageboard@labor.ny.gov. Handwritten letters can be scanned and attached to emails. Videos can be attached to the email also. Send your email to wageboard@labor.ny.gov.

The deadline for submitting letters or videos is Oct. 31, 2020. Click here for NYFB Do’s and Don’ts in discussing the issue with farm employees.

Enrollment Begins for 2021 Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened on Oct. 13. These USDA safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year. Enrollment for the 2021 crop year closes on March 15, 2021. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. For more information on ARC and PLC, including two online decision tools that assist producers in making enrollment and election decisions specific to their operations, visit the ARC and PLC webpage here.

AFBF Offers Election Resources Ahead of Nov. 3 Election

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) offers numerous election resources for farmers and those who are involved with the agriculture industry. Individuals can take the i FarmiVote pledge , a way for those involved in agriculture to remind candidates that rural America has a considerable stake in the outcome of the election and these tools to help voters identify their polling places and other voting options. Also available is The State, a series of articles written by AFBF's Advocacy and Political Affairs team providing analysis related to “the state of” various aspects of the 2020 campaign season, including the race for the White House and key elections around the country.


NYFB has created a Farmworker Relief Program, a database whereby a farmworker seeking work can complete a form to be included in the database, and a farmer seeking workers can use the database as a recruiting resource

NY FarmNet is Open

Please keep these numbers and websites available to call or share should you, a family member or friends need someone to speak with in these uncertain times. Support is available at 1-800-547-3276 and www.nyfarmnet.org.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255 (TALK), www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Crisis Text Line Text

“GOT 5” to 741-741, www.crisistextline.org