As this global pandemic unfolds around us, we at AmericanHort want to provide our members and the industry as much helpful information and access to pertinent resources in as timely a manner as possible.
Please consider this page a resource center where we will update you on late-breaking news, provide helpful links to expert information and resources, and share tips and tools to help each one of our businesses navigate the days ahead.
New Guidance on Ownership Changes for PPP Borrowers – SBA issued guidance October 2 on requirements of PPP borrowers that wish to engage in mergers, acquisitions, and other changes in ownership. See K·Coe Isom’s Quick Reference guide.
Business Financial Assistance – USDA Announces New Round of Coronavirus Relief for Growers: CFAP-2 is now open for application. Nursery and floriculture crops are eligible. Relief payments are based solely on 2019 sales. Application period runs September 21 – December 11. Details here.
On Tuesday, August 11, USDA announced expanded eligibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The program, funded through the CARES Act and the Commodity Credit Corporation, provides direct assistance payments to eligible commodities for which significant losses occurred due to pandemic-related market disruption.
Most nursery and floriculture crops are now eligible for relief. The nursery crop definition does appear to be limited to container plants; we are working to clarify, but it is possible that USDA decided most field-grown stock is less perishable, allowing for sales to be delayed but not necessarily lost. USDA also extended the application deadline to September 11. Application is through your local Farm Service Agency office; details can be found at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap. Nursery-specific details are at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/nursery.
For nursery and floral crops, relief payments may cover two types of losses:
Nursery crop and cut flower inventory that may be sold after April 15, 2020, is not eligible for CFAP. Note also that there are overall payment limits, and entities deriving income from non-agricultural sources may have other eligibility limits.
This page provides information from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other resources that are designed to support small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are a small business and need help you should apply for the disaster loan assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) upon promptly completing an assessment of your situation. Click here to access the SBA website.
There are two main SBA programs helping small businesses:
Application for forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program loans is now available. Click here for more information.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
The Treasury Department has been publishing frequent updates to an April 6 FAQ on the PPP (latest version available here) that specifically addresses seasonal businesses (Question 9) among other questions.
Click here for updated guidance on the eligibility of employees on H-2 visas in the Paycheck Protection Program.
Note: The Treasury Department has issued updated guidance for seasonal employers regarding the 12-week payroll window for seasonal employers. This newly released interim final rule is available here.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue.
Need further guidance? AmericanHort Premium members have access to our partner K·Coe Isom for an initial consultation by phone to exchange questions or ideas, as well as receive initial consultation regarding issues or concerns at no additional cost. Any follow-on work would become a project between the association member and K·Coe Isom at a negotiated fee.
All AmericanHort members and green industry businesses are encouraged to engage K·Coe Isom for their tax and CARES Act needs. K·Coe advisory fees apply and only AmericanHort Premium Members qualify for the no-cost initial consultation.
You can learn more about AmericanHort’s relationship with K·Coe Isom and the services they provide here. To get in touch with K·Coe Isom, please contact AmericanHort at 614-487-1117, or email us at MemberServices@AmericanHort.org.
AmericanHort Premium members have access to dedicated experts at K-Coe Isom. For more information on these benefits, click here.
The Nursery & Landscape Association Executives has centralized the available information on business operations in each state and province, as well as how shipments to and within the various states and provinces are affected. View the resource here.
On April 10, AmericanHort led a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in which 105 organizations urged the Secretary to ensure any forthcoming USDA assistance includes nursery and floriculture crop farmers devastated by this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. A copy of the letter is available here.
On April 3, AmericanHort CEO Ken Fisher and SVP of Advocacy Craig Regelbrugge sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to help ensure that the horticultural industry is fully embraced in the USDA-directed relief funding recently provided through the CARES Act. A copy of the letter is available here.
Amid a growing trend of mandated business closures, many are wondering what they can do to help their business weather the storm. Decisions on whether businesses can operate will be made, and those with the ability to influence those decisions will be best located, at the state or local level. Our strategy is to equip our members and state/local partners with the arguments to make their case in those discussions.
AmericanHort has collaborated with other industry leaders and organizations, to develop a statement you can use in communicating with government officials. We encourage you to borrow this statement and proactively reach out to your leaders to demonstrate the essential nature of retail garden centers in discussions about mandated business closures.
On March 18, AmericanHort briefed the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture on our concerns about the importance of these retail operations. State Agriculture Secretaries and Commissioners are key allies in the effort to articulate why these businesses should be allowed to continue operations, even in a modified capacity.
We have also been in communication with the office of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and other USDA staffers requesting that they keep the green industry in mind as “essential agriculture” as any new regulations are developed.
We are not currently aware of any jurisdiction limiting the ability of growers to continue operations. As a rule, agricultural production is generally considered a critical/essential component of the national infrastructure and we expect it will continue to be treated as such in these circumstances. If you’re hearing anything different, please let us know.
On March 18, AmericanHort joined a letter articulating the landscaping industry industry’s importance.
AmericanHort has begun to collect information sent to us by members in several states that may be of assistance in securing operating protections for your business as more closures are announced. This list is not complete and if you have seen a similar information not mentioned here, please forward them to us.
On March 24, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) put out guidance for drivers who have had, or will have, their licenses expire over the next few months or those who need updated medical exam. A waiver is being granted until June 30 for drivers who had valid credentials as of March 1. The text of the guidance is here: Notice of Enforcement on Licenses. Waiver.
The CDC and OSHA have made available guidance for employers on how to prepare for and operate businesses while mitigating the risk of infection. That information is below.
The Department of Homeland Security has three times revised federal guidance on critical infrastructure sectors and essential workers. The second revision notes the explicit inclusion of “landscapers” as essential under the Public Works and Infrastructure Support sector. Note that the federal guidance is advisory only and final authority resides at the state and sometimes local level. But these changes may be helpful as AmericanHort and state partners work to support state/local decisions on who may operate consistent with health and safety guidance. Read the guidance here.
Reopening Resources – H-2A in a Post-COVID World
Read AmericanHort’s guidance on the paid leave requirements that Congress created this spring in response to COVID-19 and how they relate to school reopenings and into 2021.
As governments across the country provide advice on the best policies and procedures to follow during our national reopening, AmericanHort encourages you to consult with your state and local health officials and follow current state health department requirements. The Nursery & Landscape Association Executives has centralized the available information on business operations in each state and province here.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a three-phased roadmap to reopening based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.
For the full roadmap, click here.
EPA’s expertise on the safe and effective use of disinfectants against the virus that causes COVID-19 informed the development of this comprehensive plan. With the CDC, the EPA has revised Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes which offers a practical, three-step process for preparing spaces for reopening.
New interim guidance is available from CDC and the Department of Labor for agriculture workers and employers.
The CDC hosts a webinar for private sector organizations and partners to update the public on the latest on the COVID-19 response.
OSHA has released updated guidance on recordkeeping requirements related to COVID-19, and how to determine of occurrence is considered a recordable illness.
H-2A, H-2B, and Other Visa Program Information and Updates
US Department of Labor
The Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification, which process H-2A and H-2B applications for temporary labor certification, routinely posts updates here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/foreign-labor
US Department of Agriculture
The USDA maintains a “farmer-friendly” portal providing information on the H-2A program here: https://www.farmers.gov/manage/h2a
Covid-19-specific announcements are featured here: https://www.farmers.gov/H-2A-and-COVID-19
US Department of State
The State Department publishes announcements on visa issuance policy here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news.html
On December 27, 2020, a COVID relief package and the FY2021 appropriations bill were signed into law. Summaries of each portion of the legislation can be found in the AmericanHort COVID Relief overview and appropriations bill overview.
AmericanHort will continue to provide overviews of additional COVID relief measures in 2021 if signed into law.
With much uncertainty in our world right now, we’ve gathered these resources for the Retail Community with the hope that they will help you navigate today’s challenging business environment. Together we strive to keep ourselves, our employees, and our customers healthy and happy.
Now is not a good time to reduce your investment in communications. In fact, online, social media and other communications can be your lifeline to telling customers how they can (and should) continue to do business with you.
For additional resources and valuable assets that will help you inspire and connect with your customers, be sure to visit the Benefits of Plants section of the AmericanHort Coronavirus Resource Center.
The National Garden Bureau has re-launched the inspirational Victory Garden for 2020.
National Retail Federation has a webpage devoted to keeping retail employees safe.
Here is a list of practices AmericanHort members are doing to best manage their growing businesses.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and National Retail Federation (NRF) have teamed up to provide “A Blueprint for Shopping Safe“, a plan to help guide a uniform reemergence of retail across the country.
Shopify is one of many service providers who give you everything you need to run a successful online store.
SBIsoftware is a web based platform to support a safe, no contact sales process for retailers of live goods. Here’s an overview of their No Contact Plant Pick Up Tour.
How do you ask your customers to keep a safe distance from each other while shopping? This easy-to-print Social Distance Sign makes it simple for retailers to communicate the new directive for retail environments.
Rally Consumers for Plants was developed by our friends at Horticultural Advantage and The Garden Center Group to encourage consumers to focus on planting gardens by providing helpful tips and information.
Marketing Munchies podcast (weekly, 7-15 minutes, free) generated and produced by Dr. Bridget Behe at Michigan State University. Marketing Munchies, a podcast to inform and inspire green industry professionals, highlighting the latest in horticulture marketing and consumer research
Retailers know that the relationship isn’t over once the sale is made. Providing customers with reliable, on-demand information is easier than you might think. You don’t need to reinvent the content, but it may be as close as your nearest Cooperative Extension Service such as those listed below.
Michigan State provides gardening information for the upper Midwest.
University of Maine offers gardening information for the Northeast.
Additional resources can be found in the Benefits of Plants section of the Coronavirus Resource Center.
In times of uncertainty communication is more important than ever. We suggest companies consider two important paths of communication and deliver information in as calm a manner possible. The first path is for employees to help alleviate their concerns; and the second path is to connect with your customers and clients. Here are some suggestions on what your messages to these audiences might address.
National Garden Bureau – pre-designed social media graphics to showcase the benefits of plants and how they can make our lives better. Here are a few examples, and you can find more here.
Get Outside & Garden – creative ideas for easy kids gardening activities are here.
Here is a new series of social media graphics to promote new varieties of All-American Seed (AAS) winners.
A variety of helpful resources to promote plants; for print or digital use
#StayPlanted is an initiative launched by a coalition of interior plantscapers to help promote CDC messaging for shelter in place and social distancing guidelines. Assets and messaging guidelines can be found here.
Encourage customers to take advantage of their own backyards and remind them why it feels good to get your hands in the dirt.
Various resources and research available from Dr. Charlie Hall, AmericanHort Chief Economist.
The CDC provides free online communication tools you can use to help communicate with your employees. Many resources are available in multiple languages
State & Territorial Health Departments
NASDA (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture) As the Federal Government is leading efforts to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19), states are serving on the front lines.Head over to the NASDA website where you will find a quick summary of all the main resources that might be helpful to you and your staff.
Wednesday January 13
Join AmericanHort, along with Kala Jenkins & Beth Swanson from K-Coe Isom, one of the nation’s leading agricultural firms specializing in financial matters, as they guide members through the latest changes to PPP loans, taxes, and more as a result of the latest COVID relief package.
Congress recently passed another round of COVID relief, which included numerous changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), loan forgiveness, and taxes. Agencies are expected to release regulations around these changes in early January.
Thursday September 24 – 2pm ET
AmericanHort will host a webinar to help green industry businesses and HR professionals plan for the 2021 season using H2 workers, J-1 interns, and other common visa types. Come listen to experts who will share informed opinions on what employers might expect as you navigate the approval process for 2021.
This program will feature brief agency updates from Kristi Boswell, Senior Advisor to the Secretary at US Department of Agriculture, and Shawn Packer, Senior Counselor at the Department of Labor. Ag labor policy experts Lynn Jacquez and Chris Schulte of CJ Lake LLC, labor and employment law counsel to AmericanHort, will discuss how the evolving pandemic and the national elections may affect employers’ workforce planning.
Craig Regelbrugge, Sr. VP of AmericanHort will moderate the discussion.
Access of this recording of this webinar is available to AmericanHort members here. Not a member? Here’s why you should join.
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) – A Focus on Horticulture Industry Eligibility and How To Apply
Monday, August 17th 1:00pm ET
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently expanded eligibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), as most nursery and floriculture crops now qualify for relief. The program provides direct assistance payments to eligible commodities for which significant losses occurred due to pandemic-related market disruption.
AmericanHort will be joined by Matthew Farrell of K·Coe Isom, the nation’s leading agricultural consulting and accounting firm, who will share his expertise on this program and discuss eligibility and the application process. The application period has been extended until September 11.
This webinar will include a Q&A period and is available to AmericanHort and green industry members.
Friday, June 26th 11:00am-12:00pm ET
Signed into law on June 5th, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act triggered an updated round of regulations for PPP loans, many of which provide additional flexibility to key provisions of the program. These concepts include the covered period, payroll cost thresholds, loan maturity, loan deferral period, as well as updated forms for forgiveness.
Join Tal Coley and Craig Regelbrugge of AmericanHort, along with Kala Jenkins and Beth Swanson from K-Coe Isom, the nation’s leading agricultural consulting and accounting firm, for an in-depth discussion on these latest developments with the PPP and a brief update on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) loan program.
This webinar is available to AmericanHort members and green industry businesses.
This spring was a whirlwind for Garden Retail Centers as the industry quickly adjusted to market conditions and implemented new marketing techniques and new sales technology.
Join AmericanHort as Katie Dubow of Garden Media Group facilitates a diverse panel of retailers with different business strengths to share how they make innovative changes to accommodate “the new now”. The esteemed panelists represent a variety of business models and will dive into what they expect in the future marketplace may hold, and what innovation in areas like sales, marketing and other operations they plan to expand upon for next year.
This webinar is designed to prepare you for Garden Retail education sessions that will take place during Cultivate’20 Virtual, providing a foundation of knowledge to build upon during Cultivate, and most importantly help you prepare for 2021 and beyond. You won’t want to miss it!
AmericanHort staff along with senior associates Kala Jenkins and Beth Swanson from K-Coe Isom
Join AmericanHort staff along with senior associates Kala Jenkins and Beth Swanson from K-Coe Isom, the nation’s leading agricultural consulting and accounting firm, to discuss recent developments on the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These experts will address seasonality requirements, certification of need, loan forgiveness, as well as potential tax breaks & credits. The application period for this $2T Government stimulus package is open until June 30, 2020.
This webinar is available to AmericanHort members and green industry businesses.
Brought to you by
Moderator: Bridget Behe
Hear from our panelists:
AmericanHort, in partnership with KCoe Isom, the nation’s leading agricultural consulting and accounting firm, and Ball Seed, North America’s leading wholesale horticultural distributor, is offering an updated webinar and support program to AmericanHort members and green industry participants to assist in navigating the application requirements of the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) program.
The SBA PPP offered as part of the $2T Government Stimulus package is an important financial relief platform for small businesses. Initial reports indicate loan applications and bank participation have been challenging for some.
Join us Friday April 10th at 1:00 ET for a webinar to learn about recent program guidance and updates, how to successfully apply for this loan package, and how you might navigate the application process.
The webinar will be led by leading experts from KCoe Isom, who will walk through the information you need to apply and give you options to submit the application yourself or take advantage of the KCoe Isom assessment, loan packaging and submittal process.
Neal Glatt, Grow The Bench
In an instant, nearly every business has shifted to remote working to protect it’s employees and public health. But it doesn’t take long to realize that virtual communication is anything but business as usual. In this session, Neal Glatt will walk attendees through the communication changes and cultural shifts that drive them in the past, present, and future to equip you for success.
Attendees will learn how to more effectively communicate with customers and employees to improve every key business metric and utilize better communication to thrive including: the difference between 2-D and 3-D communication conversations and means; how to select the proper channel for conversations to maximize meaning and efficiency; new tools to improve communication in 2020 and beyond.
Neal’s Speaker Bio: Neal Glatt is a managing partner with GrowTheBench.com. In his career as a snow contractor, Neal joined Case Snow Management, Inc. as an Account Executive in 2010. The company owned a single pick-up truck and had annual revenues of less than $1 million. Leading the sales effort and serving as part of the leadership team, Neal helped the company exceed $40 million in annual sales before beginning his own coaching practice in 2017. During that time, Neal discovered the power of focusing on strengths and the ability of strong leadership to influence amazing results. His passion is to help other people also find fulfillment and success in life. He is a Certified Strengths Coach through Gallup and a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Speaker, and Trainer.
K·Coe Senior Associate Kala Jenkins and Federal Affairs Lead Brian Kuehl
On Friday March 27, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It’s an estimated $2 trillion package, which specifically allots $10 Billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and $350 billion for Paycheck Protection Loans to help small businesses.
K·Coe Senior Associate Kala Jenkins and Federal Affairs Lead Brian Kuehl discuss the latest on Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and direct payment programs that currently exist as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. With the passage of this stimulus package, timely and useable guidance is essential. This webinar will help you learn what this means for your business.
Thursday, March 26, 2020, 2 PM, EST
In this webinar, Dr. Bridget Behe helps retailers construct a better retail environment and an easier shopping process for the consumer. She presents timely information to help Garden Centers with near-term options given the Coronavirus outbreak and IGC strategies for the new rules that may be legally or ethically in place. This webinar is the final in a 3-part series by Dr. Behe and has been modified to reflect the difficult times we are in. Part 1 and Part 2 are available to AmericanHort members in the Knowledge Center.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
Join us for an informational update about recent legislation Congress passed in response to the Coronavirus emergency and its effects on your business’ labor and tax policies from two of AmericanHort’s expert partners—CJ Lake and K-Coe Isom.
Monday March 23, 2020 at 11:00 AM
AmericanHort’s Craig Reggelbrugge, Sr. VP of Advocacy & Research and Chief Economist Dr. Charlie Hall who will provide updates on the latest legislative activity and general state of the U.S. economy considering the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Due to technical difficulties, audio commentary is missing from portions of the recorded presentation. However, slides can still be viewed in the video or downloaded at the link above.
The information contained in this link, or in the webinar recording, may not be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without further permission from the AmericanHort.
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