California Agritourism News April 2020
News and notes for the agritourism community from UC SAREP

Thank you!! Thank you for being part of California's food system, working to keep everyone fed and healthy in the new world of COVID-19.

In this newsletter:
  • Financial emergency resources
  • Emergency grants and loans - non-profit
  • Emergency grants and loans - government
  • Resources for understanding government programs
  • For U-Pick Farms and Roadside Stands
  • Guidance and considerations for U-Pick
  • Printable signs and guidelines for roadside stands
  • Please add & share: "Shelter-in-Place Direct-from-Farms" website
  • Upcoming webinars
  • Understanding opportunities for Elderberry Sales
  • Sheep and grapes
  • Resources for COVID-19 survival
  • Useful agritourism resources

Thanks again for all you're doing.
Please stay in touch; share your stories or news for the next issue!

Penny Leff
Agritourism Coordinator
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
Financial Support Resources
Emergency grants and loans - non-profit

Emergency grants and loans - government

  • US Small Business Administration (SBA):
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. - the loan is forgiven if employees are on the payroll after July, 2020 - Farm businesses should apply as soon as possible. Agricultural enterprises ARE eligible to apply for the PPP loan program. Applicants can apply to SBA or any federally insured banking institution including credit unions and the Farm Credit System.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EIDL) - Small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Important: Agricultural producers are not eligible for EIDL, but agritourism businesses that contribute a significant part of revenue, restaurants, farmers' markets and other farm support businesses may be included.

  • More federal relief coming soon. Info from CAFF: “The $9.5 billion is being divvied up by USDA this week and should be announced on Friday. CAFF has joined with NSAC, NFU, NYFC to ask for $1 billion for local food producers. It is likely that local food payments would be made through FSA offices and that farmers would have to demonstrate that direct sales are a significant share of their business and that they lost markets. The details of the documentation are still being worked out.”

  • Unemployment Insurance for businesses and the self-employed: The CA EDD has launched a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance page to keep you informed of eligibility requirements and the around-the-clock effort to build this new program from the CARES Act. This complex program to serve those who don’t usually qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, including businesses and the self-employed, has to be developed and could rival the size of the current UI program EDD administers for unemployed workers.

Assistance for small businesses from the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

Recorded Webinars to help you understand all this, and more - from Farm Commons
For U-Pick Operations & Roadside Stands
U-Pick operations during COVID-19
The fruit is almost ready or already ripe; U-Pick farmers all over California are considering if and how to open while keeping customers, workers & family safe.

Ken Hagan, stone fruit grower and board member of Harvest Time in Brentwood , reports mixed feelings about how his U-Pick operation and those of his fellow Harvest Time members will work this year. Hagan's family is reluctant to invite the normal crowds of visitors to the popular family farm. He is developing a new strategy, maybe with no U-Pick option at all, offering only pre-packed fruit with an online ordering system. Or perhaps U-Pick regulated by a reservations system or a headcount limit on customers, strict sanitation and a distancing check-out process. The plan changes every day. Ken Hagan is willing to chat with other U-Pick operators about planning,

Here are useful U-Pick Guidelines from other states:

Although California Dept. of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has not shared any specific guidelines for U-Pick operations, they give the following information and recommend that farmers check with their county Public Health Department for additional guidance:

Best of luck to everyone for a successful and safe U-Pick or fruit sales season by other methods!
Signs for Roadside Stands
The UC Cooperative Extension Fresno County team has created guidelines and printable signs for farmers to print and use at their roadside stands to help maintain health and safety for both customers and sellers. Please feel free to share, download and use these as appropriate. For more information, contact UCCE Small Farm Advisor Ruth Dahlquist-Willard,

Please add & share - online sales, CSAs, etc.
Help update & share our " Shelter-in-place Direct-from-farms " resource page
Sonoma County Farm Trails Shelter-in-Place Resources
During this COVID-19 emergency, as most agritourism operations have canceled events and on-farm activities, many are refocusing on direct sales - selling to their local community members directly through on-line sales, CSAs, and pick-up and delivery services.

UC SAREP is helping consumers purchase directly from local farms, ranches and wineries by sharing connections to local farmers all over California on the new webpage, COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Direct-from-Farm Resources. It links to local groups and individuals, connecting consumers with farms, ranches, breweries & wineries offering box deliveries, farm stands, online ordering, delivery and pickup services, organized by region.

We need you! Please help grow these connections.

I f you are an organization promoting local direct sales by farmers, ranchers, wineries or breweries, or if you are an individual farmer or rancher who would like to be included on this page, please contact Penny Leff, UC SAREP agritourism coordinator, at or reply to this email. Please share any resources or organizations that connect community members with local agricultural producers who sell directly.
Some upcoming webinars

Interested in learning about sales opportunities for elderberries and elderflowers? Join UC SAREP on Wednesday, April 22nd from 1 - 2:30 PM for an informative, interactive webinar all about elder!

There is no charge for participation, but pre-registration is required. You will receive webinar log-in details after registering.
April 17th and 24th

A FREE, 2-part workshop about the production, soil health, and climate benefits of integrating sheep into the vineyard.
Hear from Wine Country farmers, as well as university and extension specialists.

Day 1: April 17, 2020, 8-11 am
Please register here:   Zoom Registration

Day 2: April 24, 2020, 8-11 am
Please register here:  Zoom Registration

Resources for dealing in Covid-19 times
Some guidance & resources

  • Finally, Coronavirus HR Comms & Resources Guide a crowdsourced collection of resources for HR and business leaders to help inform and support Coronavirus response plans. Here you’ll find a curated collection of public Coronavirus response communications, templates, news, remote work, hiring impact, and resources.
General Agritourism Resources
  • California Agritourism - a UC ANR website compiling information and resources for farmers, ranchers and everyone involved in California Agritourism into one easy-to-use location

  • Agritourism Intensive 2019 - agendas, handouts and presentations from the 3-session agritourism planning class offered in Calaveras and Santa Cruz Counties, Jan-Mar, 2019

  • Farm-Based Education Network - A free international member network established to strengthen and support the work of educators, farmers and community leaders providing access and experiences of all kinds on productive working farms.

  • Farm Stay U.S. -The website of the U.S. Farm Stay Association, promoting farm and ranch stays in the United States and providing resources for farm stay operators and visitors.

  • Hipcamp Landshare - rural accommodations marketing site - If you are legally permitted to offer camping, cabins, or any kind of farm stay or guest ranch on your land, these San Francisco based folks may be good marketing partners.

  • Harvest Hosts - a program that connects farms and wineries with RV owners. Invite Harvest Hosts' RV owners to park overnight on your property and benefit from the goodwill that motivates them to make purchases.

  • AgritourismReady website - Created by Ohio State University Extension: A One Stop Shop for preparing your emergency management plan

  • North American Farm Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) - a membership based trade association dedicated to providing endless peer-to-peer learning opportunities, connections and resources, for farmers who are passionate about the business of agritourism and farm direct marketing.