Last month, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced an emergency program designed to keep farm workers safe during the height of harvest. Now, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has announced funds to help producers pay for those coronavirus changes.
The Food Security and Farmworker Safety Program increased field sanitation measures as well as put more stringent labor housing and transportation regulations in place. Application for a part of the $30 million set aside to help alleviate costs are now on-line.
A single application will cover three types of assistance.
This program combines the services and experience of ODA, Oregon Housing and Community Services and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
“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.”
“Despite the critical role the agricultural industry plays in our state, workers often lack access to adequate healthcare and housing leaving them uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Oregon Housing and Community Services Director Margaret Salazar. “I’m grateful for the swift state agency collaboration to ensure Oregon’s frontline workers are housed and protected.”
“OWEB is honored to be administering this grant program,” said Executive Director Meta Loftsgarden. “Maintaining the safety of farmworkers and the security of Oregon’s food supply chain is critical during this COVID-19 emergency.”
Applicants should be prepared to provide the following information with their application:
- Completed Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification W-9 Form
- Occupancy registration for OR-OSHA registered operations
- Reduction in housing capacity due to compliance with the OR-OSHA temporary rules
- Projected duration of worker housing needed
- Alternative housing/hotel information
- Hotel contract (if applicable)
- Receipts for provided housing displaced due to OR-OSHA’s temporary rules starting May 11, 2020
- An estimate of the peak number of employees expected
- An estimate of the number of field sanitary stations needed
- Duration of field sanitation need
- Invoices from the sanitation company providing the field sanitation units
- Receipt of purchased unit with documented period of use
To learn more about eligibility and requirements please visit the FSFS Program website.
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