• Cow prices up – maybe only temporarily, USDA to provide relief

Livestock Market Update – 4/18/2020

Cargill, Wyalusing no change as of this writing. Other than to say that they are not at full capacity and probably won’t because of the extra time required to screen employees several times per day.

JBS, Souderton. They plan to start taking in cattle on Monday (April 20). These are cattle that they have contracted, so they will not be buying until these contracts are complete. To assure employees and prevent communal transmission, they have installed plexiglass shields between employees in the boning room. If all goes well, they hope to be purchasing finished and cull cows, maybe April 27, but possibly not until May 4. But again, this may still be on a limited scale.

DFA has told its members that they must reduction production 15% by May 1. While there are several ways dairy farmers can reduce production, selling cows will certainly be part of the equation. If too many cows show up after May 1, this could flood the market. Processors and auction barn managers are encouraging farmers to sell cull cows now and not wait until May 1. Cull cow prices increased nearly $6/cwt this week over last Graph. There a several caveats to this recommendation. First, if farmers heed this call to sell in the last two weeks of April, there may be an oversupply that packers can’t absorb. Second, USDA just announced a plan to purchase milk and meat, as well as price support for farms that have been impacted by COVID-19. USDA press release and summary. Extensive details, however have not been released. This could provide a buffer.

Before selling talk to your auction barn manager and/or the packer. To stay up-to-date on NYS prices go to:

  • Analysis of the IHME COVID 19 Forecasting
    Model – April 21st

The address below takes you to a presentation developed at Kansas State on projected vs actual deaths due to COVID-19. It presents data from several states as well as the US. As expected NY has been affected the most, but nationally it appears that projections to date are higher than actual reported.

Go to KSU slide set and video.

  • Impact of processing plant closures – current situation and recommendations


  • Practical considerations for euthanasia


  • Managing Financial Stress in Unprecedented Times

Financial Stress on the Farm

  • Managing Stress in Uncertain Times


  • FSA adapts programs to assist farmers

FSA Makes Changes to Farm Loan, Disaster, Conservation and Safety Net Programs to Make it Easier for Customers to Conduct Business

FSA Services Available by Phone Appointment Only

Syracuse, NY, March 26, 2020 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices are open in New York by phone appointment only until further notice, and FSA staff are available to continue helping agricultural producers with program signups, loan servicing and other important actions. Additionally, FSA is relaxing the loan-making process and adding flexibilities for servicing direct and guaranteed loans to provide credit to producers in need.

“FSA programs and loans are critical to New York farmers and ranchers, and we want to continue our work with customers while taking precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus,” FSA State Executive Director Clark Putman said. “We recognize that farm loans are critical for annual operating and family living expenses, emergency needs and cash flow through times like this. FSA is working to find and use every option and flexibility to provide producers with credit options and other program benefits.”

FSA is delivering programs and services, including:
• Farm loans;
• Commodity loans;
• Farm Storage Facility Loan program;
• Disaster assistance programs, including signup for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (this includes producers now eligible because of losses due to drought and excess moisture in 2018 and 2019);
• Safety net programs, including 2020 signup for the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs;
• Conservation programs; and
• Acreage reports.

Relaxing the Farm Loan-Making Process
FSA is relaxing the loan-making process, including:
• Extending the deadline for applicants to complete farm loan applications;
• Preparing Direct Loans documents even if FSA is unable to complete lien and record searches because of closed government buildings. Once those searches are complete, FSA would close the loan; and
• Closing loans if the required lien position on the primary security is perfected, even for loans that require additional security and those lien searches, filings and recordings cannot be obtained because of closed government buildings.

Servicing Direct Loans
FSA is extending deadlines for producers to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers.

FSA will temporarily suspend loan accelerations, non-judicial foreclosures, and referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will make the determination whether to stop foreclosures and evictions on accounts under its jurisdiction.

Servicing Guaranteed Loans
Guarantee lenders can self-certify, providing their borrowers with:
• Subsequent-year operating loan advances on lines of credit;
• Emergency advances on lines of credit.

FSA will consider guaranteed lender requests for:
• Temporary payment deferral consideration when borrowers do not have a feasible plan reflecting that family living expenses, operating expenses and debt can be repaid; and
• Temporary forbearance consideration for borrowers on loan liquidation and foreclosure actions.

Contacting FSA
FSA will be accepting additional forms and applications by facsimile or electronic signature. Some services are also available online to customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and payments and view and track certain USDA program applications and payments. Customers can track payments, report completed practices, request conservation assistance and electronically sign documents. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at

FSA encourages producers to contact their county office to discuss these programs and temporary changes to farm loan deadlines and the loan servicing options available. For Service Center contact information, visit

  • Funds available for market disruptions

American Farmland Trust is excited to announce that the application for AFT’s Farmer Relief Fund is now live!

AFT will award farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs. If this describes your farming operation, apply here.

The application (available in both English and Spanish) is easy to complete but will require applicants to include sufficient detail to ensure AFT is awarding producers that have the greatest needs. Applicants will be asked to estimate their financial loss.

The initial application period goes until April 23, with grants beginning to be made by May 1.

Apply today

Thank you,
John Piotti
President, American Farmland Trust
P.S. Click here to learn more about this initiative or apply for a grant

Contact Us
American Farmland Trust
1150 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
(800) 431-1499

  • Temporary Hours of Service Exemption for Livestock Haulers

(March 18, 2020) — Due to the COVID-19 emergency relief effort, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has exempted livestock haulers from compliance with federal Hours of Service rules that limit drive time until at least April 12. Drivers wishing to haul under this exemption are suggested to print out and keep in their cab a copy of the Expanded Emergency Declaration, available here. The Expanded Emergency Declaration provides relief to those drivers hauling “food” and “immediate precursor raw materials… that are required and to be used for the manufacture of … food.”The FMCSA recently released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document available here, which specifically explains all classes of livestock are covered by the exemption and further explains how the exemption is to be used. Once the driver has returned to their “normal reporting location,” the driver must still receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty to rest.

If any LMA member has questions or experiences challenges using this exemption, please reach out to LMA General Counsel, Jara Settles, at or 816-401-1651.

  • Record meat supplies in 2020

According to Dr. Derrell Peel, OK State Livestock Marketing Specialist, meat production will be up compared to 2019. The perceived shortage is do to logistical transportation challenges of getting meat to grocery stores as people stockpile. The second issue is that retails meat sales are up 77% compared to the same time a year ago. Most of this has come out of food service and restaurant trade. Switching from what restaurants demand (middle meats) to what retail demands (ground beef and more of the end cuts) takes time for the supply chain to adjust. Read Dr. Peel’s complete article here.

  • Essential businesses and employees. Interim guidance issued by Ag and Markets

Interim Guidance for Animal Care Operations release from New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on March 22, 2020. Guidelines.

This guidance is provided for animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials and supplies, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed, and bedding, etc.; raising of animals; animal production operations; transportation of live animals, animal medical supplies; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; livestock markets, including live bird markets, slaughter and packing plants. It also includes equine operations and companion animal/pet stores and shelters; veterinary services for equine, companion animal and other businesses considered essential; and related support/service operations.

General Questions & Links:
Food Production, Processing & Safety Questions:
Employment & Agricultural Workforce Questions:
Cornell Small Farms Resiliency Resources:
Financial & Mental Health Resources for Farmers:
2 Minute Spanish Language Educational Video on COVID-19:

  • CDC Recommendations for Supporting Yourself
    Excerpt from ProDairy and Agricultural Workforce Development webinar, held March 20. Link to the recorded webinar and pdf copy of the presentation click here.

-Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

-Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
•Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

-Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

-Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

  • DHS identifies meat processing among ‘critical’ sectors

By Susan Kelly on 3/20/2020

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday issued guidance for industries including animal agriculture and meat packing whose workers it deems part of the critical infrastructure needed to mount a national response to slow the coronavirus outbreak.
The guidance is intended to inform community decision-making in identifying the sectors and critical functions that should continue normal operations, modified to account for Centers for Disease Control workforce and customer protection guidance, DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said.

“As state and local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, CISA is offering this list to assist prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions,” DHS said.

-Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees, including those in areas of food processing such as packers, meat processing, livestock and poultry slaughter facilities, and the production of food packaging.

-Farm workers employed in animal food, feed and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; and farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically.

-Animal agriculture workers including those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce.

“We recognize that states and local governments are working hard to ensure operational continuity. As part of that effort, we urge state and local governments to swiftly follow and implement this federal directive,” National Pork Producers President Howard A.V. Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wis., said in a press release.