Asides

FMM Pro Revision Announcement

FMM Pro Revision Announcement

FMM Pro: Farmers Market Manager Certification Program to offer online workshops this Fall and Winter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fayetteville, NY – The Farmers Market Federation of NY, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County and the New York State Fresh Connect Program, is pleased to announce a revised and updated Farmers Market Managers Professional Certification Course FMM PRO. 

The FMM PRO course is a professional certification program for farmers market managers. The program teaches all aspects of running a farmers market. Managers use the program to ensure their markets are operating at top efficiency; ensure their partners, collaborators and funders that they have the skills needed to operate a successful market; and encourages investment in a market and their manager to support a professionally run market.

The FMM Pro program was instituted in 2015 and a number of market managers throughout New York State and beyond have graduated from the course and used the information to help them run a successful market for their farmers, their consumers and their community. But the environment has changed dramatically since 2015. We find ourselves fighting harder for market share against other venues for local food, a consumer base more focused on convenience and a climate that increasingly calls for risk management in all areas of the market.

FMM Pro is responding to the changes we face as farmers markets by updating the curriculum. New sessions have been added to the curriculum, as well as many of the sessions updated with new information and ideas. The new and updated sessions will be delivered by webinar this Fall and Winter and are free to join. If you are a graduate of FMM Pro, attending each session will provide you with 2 continuing education credits toward maintaining your certification. (See schedule below.)

To obtain certification, managers must take the online course, complete all modules; including the video presentation, homework assignment and quiz. Once a passing grade is obtained for all modules, the graduate will receive a Certificate of Achievement signed by the three partnering agencies in the program: Farmers Market Federation of NY, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County and SUNY Cobleskill. In addition, certified managers will need to earn 2 continuing education credits bi-annually by attending special sessions at the Federation’s annual Farmers Market Managers Conference and/or specified manager training webinars in order to keep their Certification active. 

All webinars are scheduled for Noon to 1:30pm and they are free to participate, but registration is required. You can register for each of the sessions here. 

Once the updated sessions are added to the online curriculum, each participant will receive a link to the online program to register for the full course.

FMM Pro Webinar Schedule

SessionPresentersSchedule
Programs and Services for
Farmers Market
Beth Irons
Sue Gardner Smith
11/15
Risk ManagementLarry Spilker
Jon Zeltsman
11/21
Branding and Marketing Materials
that Speak to your Customers
Lindsay Wilcox12/5
Fundraising & StabilityMargaret O’Neill
Jackie Farrell
12/11
Crisis ManagementJim Farr1/8
Nutrition Programs to Grow
Your Market
Taisy Conk
Jessica Douglas
1/17
Food Safety at Farmers MarketsCaroline Butard-Hunt
John Luker
1/28
Farmers Market FinancialsSteve Hadcock2/4
Conducting and Interpreting
Market Research
Laura Biasillo2/19

For more information, contact Diane Eggert at [email protected] or Laura Biasillo at [email protected].

FMM PRO is funded by a grant from Governor Cuomo’s Fresh Connect Program, as part of the Governor’s initiative to build bridges between Upstate NY and Downstate NY, as well as build connections between consumers and NYS agriculture. 

ADA Regulations | service animals

ADA Regulations | Service Animals

As the number of Emotional Support Animals – or ESAs – rise, so too do the questions of the legality of what businesses can do to prevent non-service animals entering their businesses, and whether they have the right to be in public places, such as Farmers Markets. Service Animals are certified working dogs that have the right to go anywhere that the public can go, including areas that sell or prepare food. ESAs do not have that same legal protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Before we get started, however, we want to make some definitions clear:

  • ADA:
    • The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, or ADA, protects the rights of American citizens with a disability from facing discrimination.
  • Service Animal:
    • Service animals are defined as dogs (and rarely, miniature horses) that are individually trained to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.
  • Emotional Support Animal or Therapy Dog:
    • Any domesticated animal whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support by being present, though doesn’t perform a specific job or task and is prescribed by a mental health professional. The only requirement of an ESA is that the animal is well-behaved in public.

It’s important to note that service animals are considered working animals, and not pets, and are limited to canines and miniature horses. ESAs, however, are simply considered pets and can be any domesticated animal. An easier way to think about it is this: both types of animals replace the positions of humans. A service animal is dutybound to prevent injury or illness, the same as a doctor, nurse, or other professional may. An emotional support animal is just that – support, such as a friend or family member might provide.

Telling the Difference
The difficulty is telling the service animals apart from the ESAs. Service animals usually – but not always – wear a vest or some sort of identification marking them as a service animal. Vests and ID are not required by the ADA, the only requirements are that the animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animals work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices; for example, a dog serving an individual with PTSD may be off-tether, in order to better control the perimeter around their handler. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Where Service Animals Can Go
By law under the ADA, a service animal would be allowed anywhere the public is normally allowed to go, such as businesses, public spaces with a “no dogs allowed” policy, and medical facilities, including hospitals and EMS transport.

Where Emotional Support Animals Can Go
An ESA can be denied entry to any public or private space, just like any other pet, including places that sell and prepare food. The only rights protected by law for ESAs are the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, which allows them to qualify for no-pet housing without a fee, and the Air Carrier Access Act, which dictates the accessibility requirements for aircraft.

What You Can Do
The ADA allows establishment owners to ask only two questions, and only if it is not obvious what service the animal provides. The two questions one can legally ask are:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has this animal been trained to perform?

Therefore, a business can ask if the animal is required due to a disability and can ask what specific tasks they’ve been trained to perform. The handler’s duty is to answer the questions; if they decline to specify the animal’s tasks, or if the task is to simply provide emotional support, the animal can be denied entry.

There is one condition in which a business owner can expel even a service animal from their business. The handler is still responsible for the behavior of their animal, and if the dog is barking uncontrollably, growling, jumping on people, running away, etc., then the handler can be requested (and is required) to get their animal back under control. If they cannot or will not, the business owner has the right to ask them to leave if the animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of people in the establishment.

What You Can’t Do
While the ADA allows businesses to ask the above two questions, the business owner cannot ask these questions if the need for the service animal is obvious. Examples include when a dog is guiding an individual who is blind or pulling a person’s wheelchair. They cannot ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability, request the animal wear an identifying vest or tag or show that the animal has been certified trained or licensed as a service animal, and cannot ask that the animal demonstrate its ability to perform the task or work. Business owners also may not deny access or service to a service animal or their handler based on allergies or fear of dogs.

The ADA defines a service animal as an extension of its handler, and so businesses cannot treat them as two separate entities, nor any different from any other person. This means that they cannot be charged any extra fees or costs in relation to the animal. For example, they are permitted to stay in non-pet-friendly hotel rooms, in addition to not being charged a pet fee. However, if a business normally charges people for the damages they cause, they can charge the handler of the service animal for any damages that occur as a result of the animal’s being in the shop.

The laws that apply to where assistance animals are permitted to go do not actually require special licensing or registration of the animal. It is, however, a violation of the ADA if someone misrepresents an animal as a service animal. This is a crime in New York State and is punishable by a $250 fine and up to one year in jail.

What to Do If an Issue Arises
If you suspect an animal in your business is not a service animal, you can ask the two questions. If they cannot or will not answer them, and you can legally ask them to leave, they may be upset for being called out on their taking advantage of a loophole and threaten you or your business for being in breach of ADA. This becomes a case of being sure you’ve done your homework. Below you will find links to various brochures and articles. A suggestion from an ADA spokesperson suggests printing out a couple of those and keeping them on hand for situations such as this to show or to hand out.

When the person cannot nor will not answer which tasks the animal performs and you deny them entry, hand them a pamphlet and explain that you reserve the right to deny entry to any animal if they cannot specify the work or tasks the animal performs.

Recommendations
A few ways you can protect your business is to have a “No pets allowed except Service Animals” sign and have a written policy on Emotional Support Animals and be sure to follow it. In addition to these, the ADA hosts free webinars on many different subjects, which you can be informed of by subscribing to their email list on their website.

Resources

ADA | Service Animal Booklet
ADA | Frequently Asked Questions
ADA | Small Business Primer
Northeast ADA | Easy Fact Sheet
Northeast ADA
1-800-949-4232
www.northeastada.org

URGENT: USDA SNAP Closures

URGENT: USDA SNAP Notices Regarding Account Closures

URGENT: Have you gotten a notice from USDA about your SNAP account in danger of being closed?

USDA has adopted a new policy to close SNAP accounts where no SNAP benefits have been accepted within a three month period. This is especially problematic for seasonal markets and farmers in the SNAP program.

If you have received this letter, you must IMMEDIATELY call the SNAP Retailer Center, with the number on the letter, 1-877-823-4369. If you tell them you are seasonal, they will not close your account. But, you must call within 10 days of receiving your letter.

If you are having trouble convincing the Retail Center to maintain your SNAP account while you are in your off-season, please let the Federation know. We will do everything we can do on our end to keep your account from closing.

If you have already received the letter and have not responded within 10 days, or your account has already been closed, please contact the Federation office immediately. We will work on getting your account restored. Contact us at 315-400-1447 or email [email protected].

In the meantime, we do have calls into the appropriate people to see if we can keep seasonal markets and farmers from this policy. But until that happens, you will need to respond to these letters within their 10-day window.

Agritourism Ready by Ohio State

Ohio State Agritourism Ready Emergency Plan Development

Ohio State University has published a video on Emergency Preparedness for Markets (both on- and off-farm). You can check the video out below:

Also, check out their Agritourism Ready course, available here. It will walk you through the development of a flip chart type document that you can place in your markets.

Labor Road Show III

Ag Workforce Development Council’s
Labor Road Show III

All New York farm employers are affected by new laws that take effect beginning January 1, 2020! New York Labor Road Show III is your opportunity to learn about the changes and position your business for compliance and success in a very different environment.

Register Here or
call 315-433-0100, ext. 5595
agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu

Each day: 8:30am – 4:00pm
Cost: $55 per person, payable at the door
Dates:

DateLocation
11/18Genesee Community College – Batavia Campus
Room T119 Lecture Hall, Conable Technology Building
One College Road
Batavia, NY
11/19The Lodge at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure
2887 Royce Road
Varysburg, NY
11/20Ramada by Wyndham
21000 NY State Rt 3
Watertown, NY
11/21Hilton Garden Inn Clifton Park
30 Clifton Country Road
Clifton Park, NY
11/22Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES
Conference Rooms 1, 2, 3
1879 West Genesee Street
Auburn, NY 13201
Featured Speakers:

Charles Palmer – Chuck is a go-to lawyer for complex cases involving OSHA, employment law, labor negotiations, independent contractor and joint employment matters. Clients rely on his years of experience in dealing with state and federal enforcement agencies to develop human resource, safety and environmental policies and practices that prevent problems and save them significant expense.

Joshua Viau – Josh works with a variety of national and local clients including employers in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, and retail. He is the former Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Georgia State Bar and is active in several business groups. Josh has been selected to the Best Lawyers in America since 2017, and was recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer since 2015 and Georgia Super Lawyer – Rising Star from 2006 through 2014.

Featured Topics:
  • Compliance with Wage and Hour Laws: Overtime and Day-of-Rest Requirements
  • Understanding Unions and Labor Organizing
  • Managing the Collective Bargaining Process
  • The Increasing Importance of Farm Supervisors
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention: Updates to the NY Law
  • Compliance Priorities and Enforcement Plans for 2020, NYS Department of Labor
  • Industry Quality Assurance Program Updates
  • Insurance Update: Disability, Paid Family Leave, and Employment Practices Liability, What is Available?

Ag Workforce Development Council Member Organizations
NEDPA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cayuga Marketing, AgriMark, Upstate Niagara, New York Farm Bureau, New York Vegetable Growers Association, New York Animal Ag Coalition, Agri-Placement Services, New York Horticultural Society, Dairy Farmers of America, Farm Credit East, Gray & Oscar LLC