COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources and Information

Updated April 14, 2021

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic.

General information about COVID-19:

 

Vaccine Rollout

Currently, all South Carolinians age 16 and older can get their COVID-19 vaccine. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s vaccine information page can be found here. Appointments can be made by using scdhec.gov/vaxlocator or by calling DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help.

The CDC has a communication toolkit to promote vaccination among essential workers, including the food and agriculture sector.

Commissioner Weathers is encouraging eligible people to get vaccinated.

 

Facilities and Events

As the COVID-19 response continues, some SCDA staff are still working remotely. If you have business to conduct in-person, we suggest you reach out first by phone or email.

Our three State Farmers Markets are open for regular business.

We are accepting deliveries via UPS, USPS, and FedEx. Our Metrology Lab is open but only accepting weights for calibration by appointments only.

The Phillips Market Center is open for events, though with limited capacity and extra sanitation practices in place.

 

Food Safety

SCDA is not currently aware of any evidence suggesting COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.

However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods: wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly.

Farms and food processing facilities are already required under state and federal law to take steps to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses.

SCDA urges food producers to continue following best practices.

More on COVID-19 and Food Safety:

 

Food Supply

 

Federal Aid for Agriculture

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the latest round of federal COVID-19 relief funding, includes more than $10 billion in new funding for agriculture. The allocation includes grant and loan funding; food and agricultural commodity purchasing funding; and financial and educational assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

USDA’s new relief initiative, announced March 24, 2021, is known USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers. In addition to more CFAP funding (see below) and funding for existing programs, it includes $6 billion in new assistance. More details from USDA about these efforts are forthcoming.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program: The USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has provided direct payments and commodity purchases to assist producers affected by the pandemic. USDA will reopen sign-up for CFAP 2 for at least 60 days beginning on April 5, 2021. Information can be found at farmers.gov/cfap.

The American Rescue Plan Act also specifically includes debt relief for socially disadvantaged producers. USDA’s overview of this relief, including steps that borrowers can take now, can be found here.

USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program: Information about the Farmers to Families Food Box program, including lists of contracted suppliers and amounts distributed in each funding round, can be found here. The program is currently

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: The Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) is still accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from qualified small businesses, including agricultural businesses and private nonprofit organizations. See the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application here, and find more information about EIDL here.

Paycheck Protection Program: The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program is currently offering PPP loans until March 31, 2021.

Farmers to Food Banks

Seeking a way to help farmers and needy families during the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and SC Advocates for Agriculture teamed up to create the Farmers to Food Banks program in June 2020.

Using money donated by generous companies and individuals, this program granted funding to nine distributors (selected by a review committee) to buy produce from South Carolina farmers and create food boxes to donate to Feeding America food banks.

Through three rounds of funding, Farmers to Food Banks has supported 33 farms and distributed 20,959 boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables to needy families. SCDA may consider additional rounds of fundraising and distribution.

 

Restaurants

 

Resources