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OWGL & OWC offices are by Appointment Only

OWGL & OWC offices are open to the public by-appointment only, some staff are working remotely, please call ahead.

For the duration of the Governor’s mask order, we will be following guidelines accordingly.

The health of our families, employees, customers, vendors and partners remains as important as ever and we recognize the danger that COVID-19 poses for vulnerable individuals. Non-essential in-person meetings have been moved to phone conferencing or postponed.


Please visit our staff resources page for direct contact info.
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Food Security and Farmworker Safety Program

Applications are now available!

“Maintaining healthy agriculture and farmworker communities is more important than ever to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure a successful harvest,” said Alexis Taylor, Director, Oregon Department of Agriculture. “We quickly created this program to keep farmers farming, ranchers ranching and farmworkers working to mitigate the spread and protect people.”

Applications to access the $30 million in available funds are now online and will be processed in the order received. A single application will cover all three types of assistance.

This program combines the services and experience of ODA, Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB).

Applications can be submitted via email to FSFSapplication@oregon.gov or by fax (503-986-0199). If you cannot access the application, please call 503-986-0199 to request an application be faxed to you.




CDL DL Extended through September

Federal COVID-19 waivers for commercial driver licenses extended through Sept. 30

As the COVID-19 emergency continues, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended waivers on commercial driver licensing requirements through Sept. 30, 2020.

This reissuing of the FMCSA’s March 24, 2020, waiver is part of efforts to continue assisting the movement of essential goods and services during the emergency.

The FMCSA’s waiver is now in effect through Sept. 30 for states, commercial driver license holders, commercial learner permit holders and interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles.

The federal waiver includes, effective July 1, 2020:

  • All Oregon commercial driver licenses expiring between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 29, 2020, now expire on Sept. 30, 2020.
  • All Oregon commercial learner permits expiring between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 29, 2020, now expire on Sept. 30, 2020.
  • All Oregon CLP holders are eligible to take the CDL skills test without regard to the 14-day waiting period.
  • All Oregon CDL holders and CLP holders who certified as non-excepted interstate and whose medical certification expired on or after March 1, 2020, retain medical qualification until Sept. 30, 2020, if the medical examiner certificate was issued for 90 days or more.


Crop Insurance

The Risk Management Agency announced some additional COVID-related flexibilities to the federal crop insurance program. These flexibilities include interest accrual on premium payments and administrative fees to be waived. Read more about it here.

The Farm Service Agency recently waived late file fees for acreage reports and discussed extending deadlines. Read more about it here.



Temporary Guidance on Respiratory Protection

EPA Releases Temporary Guidance on Respiratory Protection for Agricultural Pesticide Handlers During COVID-19

EPA has heard from states and stakeholders about Personal Protective Equipment shortages in the agricultural sector. To respond to these reports and to help ensure the health and safety of America’s farmers, EPA is providing temporary guidance regarding respiratory protection requirements for agricultural pesticide handlers. Our guidance aligns with recent OSHA memos on respirators while addressing EPA’s responsibilities under FIFRA and the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).

Additional Information

The temporary guidance outlines approaches to address the unavailability of required respiratory protection and respiratory fit testing that should first be exhausted before considering any alternative options. Options include:

  • Use alternative NIOSH-approved respirators offering equivalent or greater respiratory protection than those required on the pesticide label;
  • Hire commercial applicator services with enough respirators and respiratory protection capabilities;
  • Opt to use agricultural pesticide products that do not require respirators; or
  • Delay pesticide applications until another compliant option is available.

If the above options are exhausted, EPA’s guidance provides additional options with strict terms, conditions, and exhaustion requirements to minimize potential incremental risks to workers:

  • Reuse and extended use of disposable N95 filter facepiece respirator;
  • Use of “expired” respirators;
  • Use of respirators certified in certain other countries or jurisdictions meeting protective conditions outlined; or
  • Delay the annual respirator “fit test.”
This is a temporary policy. EPA will assess the continued need for and scope of this temporary guidance on a regular basis.
Read the guidance in full and to learn more about EPA’s Worker Protection Standard HERE


OSHA issues temporary rule

Oregon OSHA has adopted a temporary rule to increase protections for workers against the spread of coronavirus in employer-provided housing and in labor-intensive farm operations.

The rule, which mostly takes effect May 11, 2020, addresses the COVID-19 emergency in such housing and operations by strengthening requirements in three areas: field sanitation, labor housing, and transportation.


To whom does the temporary rule apply?
Section 1 of this rule applies to all labor-intensive agricultural operations (activities that normally fall under OAR 437, Division 4) when employees would otherwise perform their duties or routinely congregate within 6 feet of one another. Agricultural employers whose normal activities do not involve such close contact have no additional requirements under Section 1 . While this rule remains in effect, its requirements supersede those found in OAR 437-004-1110 “Field Sanitation for Hand Labor Work” for all activities otherwise subject to that rule.


OSHA FAQ Ag Rule



Summary of Key Provisions

Articles to read in regards to the rule:
My Columbia Basin

OSHA Guidance:
Oregon OSHA workplace guidance and resources


OHA releases Ag workplace guidance documents

Oregon Health Authority has released the agricultural employer and worker guidance documents. These documents are available on the OHA COVID-19 website, under the section “Agricultural Workers and Employers.”

  • View full website here.
  • View the employer guidance here.




SUBSIDIES NOT SUBJECT TO CAT TAX


PPP Loans, EIDL Advances, SBA LoanSUBSIDIES NOT SUBJECT TO CAT TAX

Salem, OR-The Oregon Department of Revenue has determined that certain federal assistance to businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is not commercial activity under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax.

The exempt assistance includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan subsidies. More information can be found in the Beyond the FAQ section of the CAT page on the department's website.

According to information provided about the CARES Act on the website of the U.S. Department of the Treasury:

PPP loans provide small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
* EIDL emergency advances of up to $10,000 are available to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently struggling with a temporary loss of revenue.
* SBA loan subsidies cover six months of payments for "covered loans" in regular servicing status.

Taxpayers with general questions about the CAT can email cat.help.dor@oregon.gov or call 503-945-8005.

Visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make tax payments; call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish); 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon; or email questions.dor@oregon.gov. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), call 800-886-7204.




Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program

PPP and EIDL updates for Monday, May 4, 2020:

  1. The SBA EIDL/Advance program has just re-opened only for Ag-Businesses. See press release.
  2. There are two more PPP FAQ’s on the Treasury website - https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf
  3. The PPP backlog has been processed with funds utilization appears to be slowing significantly. Funds remain available.

For other general information and updates regarding CARES Act programs, visit www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection or Treasury.gov/CARES.

  • The legislation signed into law today includes $10 billion for grants, and $50 billion in loan authority
  • Additional information about EIDL can be found here.

Paycheck Protection Programs

Paycheck Protection Program Loans Available to Farmers, Regardless of Revenue

Farmers can apply for the PPP through any existing SBA 7(a) lenders or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union or Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Current eligible lenders can be found by searching the SBA website here.

The forgivable loan program is open to sole proprietors too!

FIND LENDERS

The Treasury Department has posted an updated FAQ’s document about PPP here.

All federally insured depository institutions, federally insured credit unions and Farm Credit System institutions that are not existing SBA lenders can begin making loans once they are approved and enrolled in the SBA program. New lenders will need to submit their application to DelegatedAuthority@sba.gov to apply with the SBA.

PPP -- Apply ASAP!

Bipartisan deal revives forgivable loans, OKs farms for SBA disaster program
Congressional leaders reached a deal with the White House to infuse the highly popular Paycheck Protection Program with an additional $320 billion while also making farms eligible for a separate disaster loan program for small businesses.

Learn More


About Paycheck Protection Program

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The PPP authorizes forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. A fact sheet, including the general requirements for loan forgiveness is here. While there has been information circulated as to the applicability of the program for ag and concerns about a gross income limitation, it is our understanding from our national association that the revenue threshold does not apply for the PPP loan and it is solely based on employee size standards (500 or less employees), at least for purposes of farming operations. AFBF’s Market Intel has posted an updated blog today that has more information. Also, please keep in mind that funding through this program will be on a first come, first serve basis, so if you have interest, we urge you to contact your lender as soon as possible.


DOR CAT Changes & Updates

Department of Revenue, under direction from Governor Brown, did take steps to provide some relief to small businesses. Specifically, the new rules:

  • No longer require a quarterly filing/payment today from a business who is not expected to have more than $10,000 in annual tax liability (this was previously $5,000 and should increase the quarterly waiver threshold to businesses with approximately $2M in gross receipts – up from $1M).
  • Will waive penalties for underestimated quarterly payments or for not making a quarterly payment, if the business does not have the financial ability to make the estimated payment. You do not have to file documentation to establish your “good faith” assessment, but will need to compile documentation that shows:
    • Your inability to pay a quarterly payment because of insufficient funds due to COVID-19;
    • Your inability to reasonably calculate a quarterly payment or annual tax liability due to their business being impacted by COVID-19;
    • And that the taxpayer is unclear at this time whether the business will owe Corporate Activity Tax in April 2020 due to COVID-19 impacts, after taking into consideration exclusions and subtractions in the law.

More information on the DOR CAT website here.

A new website has been created to support the effort.
Go to Website



Stay Home, Stay Healthy - Gov. Brown

Important Highlights:

  • The order does not include agriculture in the business closure requirements.
  • The order delegates future decisions to close businesses to OHA, with required Governor approval.
  • Businesses able to remain open through this order are required to designate an employee or officer to establish, implement and enforce social distancing politics consistent with guidance from OHA.

VIEW EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-12

Crop insurance flexibilities announced

RMA issued a notice today with some flexibilities as part of its effort to address COVID-19. Specifically, RMA will be authorization self-certification on replant inspections and they are also waiving the witness signature requirement for approval of Assignments of Indemnity through July 15, 2020. Regarding replant self-certification, RMA is authorizing AIPs to allow such for up to 100 gross acres (before considering share) per unit in lieu of 50 acres. Wheat not covered by the Winter Coverage Endorsement (both initially planted winter and spring crops) is eligible.


FAQ Emergency Sick Leave

“Small Business” Exemption Highlights
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers

Emergency Leave Guidance

58. When does the small business exemption apply to exclude a small business from the provisions of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

An employer, including a religious or nonprofit organization, with fewer than 50 employees (small business) is exempt from providing (a) paid sick leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons and (b) expanded family and medical leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons when doing so would jeopardize the viability of the small business as a going concern. A small business may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:

1. The provision of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would result in the small business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity;

2. The absence of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or


VIEW MORE Q&A HERE



NAWG Sends Letter to USDA

NAWG Sends Letter to USDA re COVID-19 Assistance Program

On April 23, 2020, NAWG sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging the Agency to incorporate price volatility when finalizing details around its recently released Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). NAWG believes that using the January to April timeframe won't fully capture the market conditions during which wheat farmers were marketing their crop. In its letter, NAWG provides market date to support the fact that “wheat producers experienced substantial price losses during the designated timeframe and should be eligible for assistance under CFAP.



Wheat Industry amid COVID-19

The safety of our farms, farmers, grain handlers, truckers and employees is paramount. The agriculture community and industry are taking the extra steps necessary to support the unprecedented dynamics COVID-19 has brought us.

We recognize that we must continue operations in order to ensure a steady supply of wheat to market. While additional quarantines are not currently in effect, the situation can quickly change. The agriculture industry has always done business on a handshake. Our industry works tirelessly to produce top quality crops on our local farms, and now we are called upon to work even harder to get our crops to market.

The emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States might change the physical interactions and mechanics of the wheat industry, but it must not change our fundamental practices and values. The agriculture community has been built on relationships from the beginning of time. While we must all do our part to flatten the curve of exposure through common sense measures that limit the avenues of transmission, we also will retain our commitments to one another.

As the number of confirmed cases raise daily and the cancellation of all gatherings and limitations are in effect for the weeks to come, our services go on. In order to have wheat to supply, we need to assure that our farms can continue to employ agriculture workers to support planting of the spring crop, irrigation, servicing machinery, and other farm operations. There is not an option for delaying this work: mother nature does not wait for us. If we do not have the labor to plant and tend to our crops, we will not have wheat to harvest in July and August.

We value what our members and farmers contribute to our wheat industry and greatly appreciate your support. We are all in this together. We urge all of our members to implement logical, common-sense practices to reduce transmission, thereby keeping more people safe and making the public health response the most effective it can be.



Please stay safe, sane and healthy. If you need help please reach out and utilize the resources available.


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