PennAg Staff Working on Behalf of You and Your Agribusiness

Whether in the Office or from Home, PennAg Staff is Here for You

During this very challenging time, as Pennsylvania works together to best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,
PennAg is committed to providing continued service to our members and the agriculture community.


As of Monday, March 23rd, our office is closed to the public. We recognize the importance of the role we play in supporting essential and life-sustaining agriculture and rest assured, regardless of location, we will continue to work diligently on behalf of our members and will be monitoring the evolving situation and keeping members informed regularly.

You can count on us to be here to support your agribusiness. How can we help? Please reach out via the
contact information provided.

The PA Center for Dairy Excellence has posted a great list of recommendations that all dairy farmers and farm businesses should follow to ensure that your business is able to navigate day-to-day operations in the midst of the crisis.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we all navigate this uncharted territory. We’re thankful and proud to
be a part of Pennsylvania agriculture. #essentialAGisSTILLessential

 
 
March 21, 2020

Should Your Business Be Open or Closed? Interested in Requesting a Waiver to Remain Open?

Important Resources to Help Your Business Answer these Critical Questions

 

Should My Business be Open or Closed?

Those businesses requesting clarification on whether they are defined as life-sustaining – and should be open or closed at this time – should check this list, email the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) customer service resource account at ra-dcedcs@pa.gov, or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select option 1 to reach DCED staff.

 

My Business is Listed as Non-Life-Sustaining, But I’d Like to Request a Waiver

If a business listed for closure believes it could help mitigate this crisis by providing a life sustaining service, it can seek an exemption. To seek a waiver, complete the online waiver application. You may also reach out to request a waiver or additional information about the process to be deemed exempt via email at RA-dcexemption@pa.gov.

 

When a business completes a waiver form, a team of professionals at DCED will review each request and respond based on the guiding principle of balancing public safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions. Those requesting a waiver will be notified via email if their operations may re-open. Businesses applying for a waiver must remain closed until a decision is made about their application.

 

Additional Guidance for Agriculture Requests

Use Keywords in Your Requests for Easy Identification as Agriculture

Due to the high volume of requests for waivers, consider utilizing simple keywords in your email. In addition to providing details about why your business is or supports life-sustaining activity, words like these may help those reviewing quickly identify them as agriculture related/essential agriculture operations:
  • Animal
  • Crop
  • Farming
  • Poultry
  • Timber
  • Forest
  • Food
  • Dairy

NOTE: the Wolf Administration is delaying enforcement of Governor Tom Wolf’s order and the Secretary of Health’s order that all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 

Per Governor Wolf's and Dr. Levine’s orders, businesses that were non-life sustaining were ordered to close their physical locations on March 19, at 8:00 PM. This order stands, only the enforcement timing will change and become effective on Monday, March 23, at 8:00 AM.

 

Learn more:
 
March 21, 2020

Resources for Identifying Essential and Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response

As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America. This guidance states that:

“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) developed an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” to help employers as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of business in areas critical to public health and safety, including a safe food supply. The attached list is advisory in nature only, but helps to identify workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability. Find the list here.

 

CDC interim guidance for employers and business owners: https://bit.ly/CDCBusinessGuidance

FDA frequently asked questions for businesses supporting human and animal food production: https://bit.ly/FDAIndustryFAQFoodSafety
 
March 21, 2020

Provide Your Employees with Documentation for Travel During COVID-19 Response Enforcement

Agriculture is a life-sustaining business critical to PA during the response efforts related to COVID-19. With a job to do, you and your employees need to be able to travel to work without disruption. Use the templates below to draft travel documents for employees to carry and refer to, should they be stopped by law enforcement personnel while traveling to or from work. The letters are available in English and Spanish and may be customized if you choose to include the employee's name and your business' pertinent information.

 

Explanation Letter - English

Explanation Letter - Spanish

 

Travel to Work Letter - English

Travel to Work Letter - Spanish
 
March 19, 2020

Essential Ag Businesses are STILL EssentialLatest Non-Life-Sustaining Closure Order Does NOT Apply to Essential Ag Businesses

PennAg Executive Vice President, Chris Herr, has been in contact with the Executive Offices at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and has been reassured that, if your agribusiness has already been deemed essential, there is no change to that status as a result of the Governor’s most recent order for the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses across the state. The order is specifically directed to those non-essential businesses that have chosen thus far to ignore the Governor’s advisory to close in an effort to better prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’ve secured the full list of non-life-sustaining businesses that this latest order applies to, for your reference.

 

The order prescribes that all named non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations as of 8PM, March 19 (tonight). Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01AM, Saturday, March 21.

 

In extenuating circumstances, special exemptions will be granted to businesses that are supplying or servicing health care providers.


Further Details and the Official List Can be Found Here:

 
March 18, 2020

US Department of Transportation Expands National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles Delivering Relief in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours- of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. FMCSA’s expanded declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.
The expanded declaration stipulates that direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency
relief added to obtain the benefits of the emergency declaration. To ensure continued safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has
completed his or her delivery, the drive must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers. FMCSA’s emergency declaration
is the first time the Agency has issued nation-wide relief and follows President Trump issuing of a national emergency declaration in response to the virus. Click here to read
FMCSA’s national emergency declaration.
 
March 18, 2020

PennDOT Reopens Select Rest Areas for Truck Parking

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will be reopening select rest areas across Pennsylvania for truck parking. PennDOT rest areas were closed at midnight
Tuesday in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19.

 

To address safety concerns raised, PennDOT has identified 13 of its 30 rest areas in critical locations that will be available for truck parking starting tomorrow, March 19.

 

Each location will have five portable toilets (one of which is ADA-accessible) that will be cleaned once a day. Electronic message signs will be used near the applicable centers to
notify drivers near the opened areas. To prevent further spread of COVID-19, PennDOT does not plan to open any of the indoor facilities due to staff availability to keep facilities
clean and properly sanitized.

 

These are the locations that will be reopened for truck parking:
  • Interstate 79: Crawford County NB/SB
  • Interstate 79: Allegheny NB only
  • Interstate 80: Venango County EB/WB
  • Interstate 80: Centre County EB/WB
  • Interstate 80: Montour County EB/WB
  • Interstate 81: Luzerne County NB/SB
  • Interstate 81: Cumberland County NB/SB

The department will continue to evaluate and will determine whether additional rest areas can be reopened. More COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov.
For more information, visit
www.dmv.pa.gov or www.PennDOT.gov.

 
March 17, 2020

Further Details for Ag Businesses During COVID-19 Response Efforts
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued a release this evening (click here to download) in an effort to offer guidelines to essential agricultural businesses and better
ensure a safe and accessible food supply throughout the COVID-19 response.

 

Find additional recommendations for specific segments supporting the food supply chain:

 
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