News Article –
On May 29, 2020, Governor Kate Brown announced Oregon’s Food Security and Farmworker Safety Program (FSFS). The COVID-19 emergency caused Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OR-OSHA) to issue temporary rules aimed requiring increased field sanitation measures and more stringent labor housing and transportation regulations. FSFS provides financial assistance to help agricultural producers and farmworkers comply with these increased measures during peak harvest.
“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.”
Applicationsto access the $30 million in available funds are now online and will be processed in the order received. A single application will cover all three types of assistance.
This program combines the services and experience of ODA, Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB).
“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 will administer the program, processing applications and collecting documentation.
“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.”
Applications can be submitted via email to FSFSapplication@oregon.gov or by fax (503-986-0199). If you cannot access the application, please call 503-986-0199 to request an application be faxed to you.
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.
Or send your questions to FSFSquestions@oregon.gov.