Following Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20–12 to prevent further transmission of the Coronavirus, the ODFA office is closed until further notice. While operating remotely, we remain on the job and committed to serving you and are available by email or cell phone.
To our producers, thank you for your ongoing dedication to producing a safe and nutritious product every day while taking precautions to minimize the risk to your family, your employees and the essential professional and service providers you are working with to keep your businesses in operation during this tumultuous time. ODFA will do our best to provide information to you as it becomes available. Please check back to this page as it will continue to be updated with new resources and current information.
Dairy farms are an “Essential Industry” however, the following is required for ALL farms to remain open:
Must designate someone to establish, implement and enforce social distancing policies when telework is not possible.
Must offer telecommuting options to the extent possible.
Your business can be closed until compliance is demonstrated.
We have received questions about how to ensure that dairy workers can travel to and from work if limitations are imposed during the coronavirus outbreak.
We recommend providing each of your workers with a letter explaining that the worker is an “essential critical infrastructure worker” because the employee workers in the production of food.
A template of an English/Spanish letter can be found on our website, along with an explanation document. It should be customized by adding your farm letterhead and other pertinent information. A docx file of the letter can be found below. Please download it, open it, and customize it for your use. An explanation document for employees can be found below.
On March 18, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed into law HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a broad-ranging response to the COVID-19 outbreak. HR 6201 temporarily expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide paid leave for employees unable to work due to closure of schools and child-care facilities and temporary paid sick leave for COVID-19-related absences. HR 6201 will become effective April 2, 2020. You can find the federal act here.
These changes will impact your employment practices. All employers should re-evaluate their leave policies and prepare to implement these new requirements. For more information, see the legal analyses below.
On April 28th, 2020, Oregon OSHA adopted temporary emergency rules in response to the COVID-19 Emergency. These rules affect three different but related aspects of Oregon’s industry -- Field Sanitation for Hand Labor, Temporary Labor Housing, and Agriculture Employer Provided Transport – and are designed to at least mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among the agricultural workforce in particular.
The rule takes effect May 11, 2020. It temporarily replaces the current rule addressing Field Sanitation in Agriculture and the rules governing Employer-Provided Housing (in agriculture and in all other industries). It also provides new requirements related to COVID-19 mitigation in employer-provided vehicles.
All enforcement of the rule (including the provisions that technically take effect May 11) will be delayed until June 1, 2020.
You will find state and federal information in English and Spanish, as well as information about ODA operations, including CAFO inspections, and resources.
Employers Advice for the Workplace
Oregon Health Authority commonly asked questions on what advice there is for the workplace.
Health experts recommend that employees with symptoms of acute respiratory illness stay home. Employees should not come to work if they have:
Fever (100.4° F [38° C] or greater using an oral thermometer).
Other symptoms like cough, vomiting, or diarrhea.
People should be without fever or cough for 72 hours without using fever reducing medicines like aspirin or acetaminophen before returning to work or school. This applies to everyone, not just people that have been tested for COVID-19.
Employees should inform their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
This is what CDC recommends. Also, those with fever or acute respiratory illness symptoms should go home immediately:
Upon arrival to work, or
During the day, if symptoms develop while at work.
Emphasize that all employees should:
Stay home when sick, and make sure workplace policies allow sick leave so that people can do the right thing by protecting their co-workers.
Perform regular cleaning of the workplace. Make it a routine to clean all surfaces that people often touch. Examples are workstations, countertops and doorknobs. Use cleaning agents usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should:
Review your outbreak response plans and make sure they are up to date. If you do not have a plan, now is the time to develop one. All outbreaks are reportable. That includes those in the workplace. Contact your local public health department if you believe you have an outbreak. They will be able to guide you through how to respond.
CARES Act and Resources for Oregon Agricultural Businesses
What other resources are available to workers and employees?
The CARES Act provided $34.9 billion to USDA, FDA, and related agencies to provide support for America’s agriculture and rural economy. As more information becomes available, ODA will continue to share that information to help Oregonians respond.
For more information regarding COVID-19: Related Business Layoffs, Closures, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits, please visit the Oregon Employment Department (OED) website. The OED has Scenarios and Benefits documents in both English and Spanish.
The Oregon Employment Department is currently responding to historic levels of claims. If you or your employees need to file for unemployment, you need to file claims quickly. You can file claims with OED in English and Spanish.
Oregon’s agricultural community continues to demonstrate the core values that unite us all in the face of uncertainty and crisis. As we all are experiencing disruptions to daily routines and adjusting to new ways of doing business, the efforts to reduce the virus’ spread and limit pathways of exposure are showing encouraging results that will save lives.
ODA continues to commit to helping and doing our part as the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis is setting in. ODA’s COVID-19 website is frequently updated with current information and resources. Staff at the agency continue their work and uphold the promise to support Oregon agriculture.
Apply Now For a Second Round of Payments Through USDA's CFAP
Federal Assistance for Dairy Farmers - Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2
On Sept. 18, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced information on the second round of CFAP payments, which will provide additional aid to dairy farmers due to losses generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a producer whose operation has been impacted, you are likely eligible for this second round of direct support. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting CFAP 2 applications now through Dec. 11, 2020. See below and visit farmers.gov/cfap for more information.
Dairy farms are 24-hour, 7-day per week businesses, and operations must continue. Following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) precautions will minimize the risk to dairy farmers, family, employees and essential professional and service providers to be on the farm.
Employers should make sure that work environments are as clean as possible to prevent the spread of contagious disease. They should also make clear that employees who have symptoms of a potential contagious illness must not report to work while they are sick. Employers should check the CDC website regularly for Coronavirus updates and should have open and informed conversations with concerned employees about the virus and its potential impact.
The farm workforce is not immune to Coronavirus, please begin taking steps to protect yourself and your employees.
Talk with your employees about coronavirus, how it spreads, and how to prevent getting infected.
Clean and disinfect your workplace. The employee breakroom and bathroom are great places for virus to be transmitted. Clean and disinfect any areas where employees congregate or routinely touch items such as doorknobs and computer keyboards. Set up daily and weekly cleaning schedules.
Keep the restrooms and other areas of the dairy stocked with disinfectants and soap.
All unnecessary people should not be on a dairy farm at this time.
Farm tours should be suspended until such time as the human-to-human transmission risk has abated.
Use teleconferences to talk with advisors who do not need to be on the farm such as nutritionist, banker/loan officer, extension personnel, etc.
For dairy farms with retail stores on-site, operate in accordance with the recommendations of federal, state and local health officials.
Review your sick leave policy. The first advice for people who are sick is to stay home except to get medical care. Do you provide paid sick leave for your employees? If you do not, will employees feel financially obligated to come to work even if they are sick?
Communicate with employees that they should stay home if they are sick. Employees sometimes come to work believing they will face punishment or firing if they miss work. Be sure your employees understand that their health and that of their co-workers’ comes first. Communicate and make a plan to cover for sick employees.
Prepare your disaster contingency plan. What will you do if 50% of your employees become sick and unable to work? Are there neighboring farms who might be able to share resources in an emergency? Who will manage for a few weeks if you or another key manager are unable to leave your house or are hospitalized?
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), sending home an employee who displays symptoms of a contagious illness does not violate the ADA because: (1) if the illness ultimately turns out to be relatively mild or routine (e.g., seasonal flu), it would not have constituted a covered disability in the first place; and (2) if the illness does turn out to be severe (so that it could constitute a disability under the ADA), then it would likely pose a “direct threat” supporting the employer’s decision. An Employer should consider clearly communicating that it has the right to send home any employee exhibiting symptoms of a potentially contagious disease.
If an employee or individual currently working, or recently present, within your facility is confirmed by a laboratory to be positive for COVID-19, immediately notify your local health department. Ensure that all sensitive surfaces and areas are immediately cleaned and disinfected.
Your local health department will be involved in monitoring the employee or individual while symptomatic and under isolation until they recover. The local health department will be involved in clearing fully recovered employees from isolation before they can return to work. The local health department may provide further guidance on monitoring and segregating employees who came into close contact with positive individuals.
Where do I post this notice? Since most of my workforce is teleworking, where do I electronically “post” this notice? Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.
I have to post this notice in other languages that my employees speak? Where can I get the notice in other languages? You are not required to post this notice in multiple languages, but the Department of Labor (Department) is working to translate it into other languages.
Do I have to share this notice with recently laid-off individuals? No, the FFCRA requirements explained on this notice apply only to current employees.
Do I have to share this notice with new job applicants? No, the FFRCA requirements apply only to current employees. Employers are under no obligation to provide the notice of those requirements to prospective employees.
Do I have to give notice of the FFCRA requirements to new hires? Yes, if you hire a job applicant, you must convey this notice to them, either by email, direct mail, or by posting this notice on the premises or on an employee information internal or external website.
If my state provides greater protections than the FFCRA, do I still have to post this notice? Yes, all covered employers must post this notice regardless of whether their state requires greater protections. The employer must comply with both federal and state law.
I am a small business owner. Do I have to post this notice? Yes. All employers covered by the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA (i.e., certain public sector employers and private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees) are required to post this notice.
How do I know if I have the most up-to-date notice? Will there be updates to this notice in the future? The most recent version of this notice was issued on March 25, 2020. Check the Wage and Hour Division’s website or sign up for Key News Alerts to ensure that you remain current with all notice requirements: www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.
Our employees must report to our main office headquarters each morning and then go off to work at our different worksite locations. Do we have to post this notice at all of our different worksite locations? The notice needs to be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees can see it. If they are able to see it at the main office, it is not necessary to display the notice at your different worksite locations.
I am running out of wall space. Can I put the required notices in a binder that I put on the wall? No, you cannot put federal notices in a binder. Generally, employers must display federal notices in a conspicuous place where they are easily visible to all employees—the intended audience.
We have break rooms on each floor in our building. Do I have to post notices in each break room on each floor or can I just post them in the lunchroom? If all of your employees regularly visit the lunchroom, then you can post all required notices there. If not, then you can post the notices in the break rooms on each floor or in another location where they can easily be seen by employees on each floor.