News & Updates
Financial support for small food and farm businesses* impacted by COVID-19
Following is a list of resources for financial support compiled by the King County Agriculture Program. King County is not responsible for the content on external websites listed below. Last updated: Mar. 12, 20.
- Local Loan programs for Food Businesses
- Planning for Emergencies and Natural Disasters SBDC Business Resiliency Guide
- Amazon’s $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund
- The Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) can work with impacted companies that request an extension on tax filing. The law grants DOR authority to extend the due date for excise tax returns. A business may request such an extension from DOR prior to the due date of the return, and, if granted, the business would be allowed to delay reporting and paying its tax liability. If a business needs an extension of more than 30 days, the law requires DOR to collect a deposit from the business. The amount of deposit required is based on the business’ reporting history and how many reporting periods are covered under the extension WAC 458-20-228 (13). Contact DOR at 360-705-6705
- DOR may also waive penalties under limited circumstances if a business is late in paying its tax obligation. The law also grants DORauthority to provide a one-time, 24 month, late payment penalty waiver if the business has not owed a late payment penalty during the previous 24 months WAC 458-20-228 (9). Contact DOR at 360-705-6705.
- DOR may also work with businesses that cannot file or pay their taxes on time if they are impacted by a declared state of emergency. When a state of emergency or disaster has been officially declared, affected businesses that owe Washington taxes may qualify for:
- A filing extension for excise tax returns (without the limitations described above); and/or
- A late payment penalty waiver request (without the limitations described above).
- The state is working to compile a larger list of local bankers, financial associations,
telecoms, utilities and major employers that may be able to provide relief, such as:
- Deferred bills, waived fees, discounts, no-interest loans and other support.
- Debt and late-penalty forgiveness for companies and workers in order to help keep people employed.
- Favorable credit terms for firms that encounter cash flow problems.
- The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) can provide support in the form of unemployment benefits. For employers that want to keep from losing highly- trained employees, these unemployment benefits can be received through, or while covered by, Shared Work, Partial Unemployment and Standby (which allow certain workers to collect unemployment while remaining with their employers and not actively seeking other jobs).
- ESD’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program can provide paid leave benefits for Washington workers who need to take time off from work due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Certification by a healthcare provider is required for applications for Paid Family and Medical Leave due to a serious health condition.
- If COVID-19 disrupts a Washington business and causes a mass layoff or closure, ESD and its local workforce development board partners can respond with Rapid Response services and funding to help impacted workers get connected to unemployment benefits and re-employment services, including re-training, worker support services, and referrals to other social services.
- Adverse weather
- Natural disasters
- Labor disputes
- Acts of terrorism
- Failure to vacate
For latest information, resources, and guidance related to COVID-19, please visit the Washington State Department of Health website.
Employer and worker assistance
The Washington State Insurance Commissioner can help answer questions about insurance coverage for damages related to COVID-19.
What you need to be covered
To be covered against any business losses due to a communicable disease, such as COVID-19, you would need to have purchased an additional endorsement to your policy.
Contact your insurance agent or insurance company directly to find out if you already have this added coverage. If you don’t have added coverage and would like to buy it, contact your insurance agent or company to see if it’s available.
If you didn’t buy the added endorsement prior to the outbreak and you want to buy it, the insurer may not want to sell you the endorsement.
Event cancellation insurance
Event venues typically require the person or company booking a scheduled event to have event cancellation insurance coverage. Coverage for communicable disease outbreaks is typically not included in a standard event cancellation insurance policy. This type of insurance only covers these type of perils:
What you need to be covered
You can buy an added endorsement to your event cancellation insurance policy to cover canceling an event due to a communicable disease. If your insurer doesn’t offer this type of endorsement, you should shop around with other insurers.
Be aware that if you didn’t buy the added endorsement prior to the outbreak and you need to cancel an event, the insurer cannot back date a policy to provide coverage for the cancellation. Insurers may also not want to sell this type of endorsement until the crisis has passed.
NOTE: The Office of the Insurance Commissioner does not have the authority to require insurers to sell any type of coverage or policy endorsements to consumers.
Have insurance questions?
- USDA: Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool
- Small Business Administration or SBA
Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Visit the Small Business Administration’s website to search current Presidential emergency disaster declarations and USDA Secretarial disaster designations by state and county.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
If you have suffered substantial economic injury and are one of the following types of businesses located in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):
- Small business
- Small agricultural cooperative
- Most private nonprofit organizations
Disaster Loan Assistance: Federal disaster loans for businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners, and renters.
The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: SBA.gov/Disaster.
- USDA FSA Loans for losses to crops, trees, livestock, farm land and farm property.
Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA
Download the FEMA mobile app for local weather, maps of disaster resources, and other disaster relief options – including how you can help.
Visit ready.gov to prepare for disaster before it happens.
Find news feeds for wildfire, drought, hurricanes and more at disasterassistance.gov
Crop Insurance (USDA Risk Management Agency, Spokane)
To cover revenue losses, especially for small-scale diversified direct market producers, consider USDA Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP). WFRP provides a risk management safety net for all commodities on the farm under one insurance policy and is available in all counties nationwide. This insurance plan is tailored for any farm with up to $8.5 million in insured revenue, including farms with specialty or organic commodities (both crops and livestock), or those marketing to local, regional, farm-identity preserved, specialty, or direct markets.
The amount of farm revenue you can protect with WFRP insurance is the lower of the revenue expected on your current year’s farm plan or your five-year historic income adjusted for growth. This represents an insurable revenue amount that can reasonably be expected to be produced on your farm during the insurance period. USDA provides crop insurance for producers through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. Visit USDA Risk Management Agency’s website for crop insurance information and use the Agent Locator to find a crop insurance agent near you.
- Whole Farm Revenue protects against income loss.
For any questions about Risk Management Agency’s insurance contact the State Office in Spokane:
11707 E Sprague Ave Suite 201
Spokane, WA 99206-6125
Non-Insured Disaster Insurance (NAP) (USDA Farm Service Agency, regional offices: Lake Stevens, Puyallup, etc.)
The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program helps producers to manage risk through coverage for both crop losses and crop planting that was prevented due to natural disasters. The eligible or “noninsured” crops include agricultural commodities not covered by federal crop insurance. NAP covers production losses due to weather related losses; drought, hail, freeze, flood. NAP is FREE for socially disadvantaged farmers.
Farmers will need to apply in person at their local FSA office. Please call ahead to schedule an appointment and get a list of required documents that will be needed.
Snohomish County Farm Service Agency
528 91st Ave NE STE B
Lake Stevens, WA 98258
425-334-2828 ext. 2
Pierce County Farm Service Agency
1011 E Main Ave Suite 306
Puyallup, Wa 98372
Start Farming in King County: New resource guide to help farmers reach their business goals
- Learning how to farm,
- Developing a business and marketing plan,
- Financing their farm business,
- Getting required permitting and licensing, and
- Finding a place to farm.
This guide provides resources, tips, and information on programs that can help farmers reach their farm business goals. No matter where you are in this process, whether you want to learn how to farm or you are ready to access credit to support and grow your operation, this guide can help you figure out where to start and assess the options available to you. Download the guide to get started on the right path to farm business success!
Urban Agriculture Spotlight: White Center Food Bank
Urban agriculture is empowering communities across King County. Whether it’s reintroducing culturally significant foods in an area where they are scarce, or giving people access to land in order to learn a new skill, the impact is felt far and wide.
The Local Food Team began sharing the stories of a selection of Urban Farmers from the South County Urban Ag Network to highlight the benefits of urban agriculture three months ago. We will continue by sharing White Center Food Bank's story, which is the final story of this series.
The mission of White Center Food Bank is to nourish community, nurture self-reliance, and embrace White Center’s rich cultural diversity. They operate a grocery store on site, which includes a baby pantry for diapers, formula, and baby food, and run mobile food bank programs for seniors and disabled customers, and manage community gardens down the street.
The food bank is situated in White Center, a small, non-annexed area bordered by West Seattle, Burien, and Highline. Food banks are a critical source of community support for individuals and families struggling with economic hardship that leaves them without enough money to buy food.
The mission of White Center Food Bank is not just to provide people access to any food, but culturally relevant food. The majority of food bank customers are immigrants, and their cultural foods aren’t provided by the typical food bank.
For people in many cultures, eating and sharing their food is a method of connecting with family, culture, ancestors, and spirituality. Having access to fresh, culturally relevant food nourishes not only the physical body, but the spirit in intangible ways.
Continue reading White Center Food Bank's story and other urban agriculture stories. Image of the inside of the White Center Food Bank grocery store, courtesy of Esmeralda Manjarrez.
Tukwila Village Food Hall grand opening this spring
Have you read Fortune’s recent article about the innovative ways restaurants are improving eating and community experiences around the country? If so, you may have heard about a new food hall opening in Tukwila.
The Local Food Team recently spoke with Kara Martin, Food Innovation Network (FIN) Program Director, about the grand opening and importance of the Tukwila Village Food Hall to food entrepreneurs in King County.
This spring, FIN will open Tukwila Village Food Hall, the future home of the FIN’s Food Business Incubator to help entrepreneurs launch food businesses, providing training, mentorship, subsidized commercial kitchen access, and support with permitting, licensing, menu planning, and marketing.
The Food Hall will support local entrepreneurs who are an important part of King County by providing access to a commercial kitchen, restaurant space, and a community hub – a place where people can gather to learn about and celebrate the community’s rich food traditions.
The new food hall facility will help low-income women, immigrants, and refugees launch and build food businesses. The commercial kitchen will accommodate up to twenty businesses, nine of which will sell prepared food in the dining area. The names of those businesses will be announced soon, so please keep an eye out for more details.
Food Hub Feasibility Study: Closing the gap in our local food system
The local food system is comprised of a diverse array of stakeholders small and medium sized farms, food entrepreneurs, farmers markets, small food distribution companies, food banks, and more – all of whom require right-sized infrastructure to produce, process, and distribute products and serve their customers.
Much of the existing regional food system infrastructure is either not accessible or not of the proper scale to meet the needs of small and medium farms and food businesses in our region. This includes a need for processing, packaging, dry and frozen storage, and transportation capacity, that if developed, could increase markets for locally produced products, increase access to fresh produce in under-served communities, and help to foster new relationships and opportunities among food system stakeholders.
Survey says… Washington farmer-landowner relationships are important for on-farm conservation
In November, American Farmland Trust (AFT) released the Washington state fact sheet summarizing results from its Non-Operating Landowners (NOLs) survey that surveyed individually or partnership-owned lands. This survey revealed that there is significant opportunity for increased conservation practices on rented land to improve soil quality.
New WSU Extension Publication
A new Publication on soil organic matter is now available from WSU Extension: Understanding and Measuring Organic Matter in Soil.