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INFORMATION ABOUT THE ONGOING NOVEL CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

COVID-19 Response and Resources

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation following Governor Bill Lee’s State of Emergency declaration. We take the health of citizens and our staff very seriously and are following best practices to prevent further spread of the virus.

We remain committed to protecting food safety, product quality, and fair commerce. Our department’s services will continue as usual, unless otherwise stated. TDA public events are canceled through April 24. Meetings with the option for electronic participation (conference call, video conferencing, etc.) are expected to take place. Please contact the meeting organizer to confirm.

Remember to follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19: avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people, maintain at least six feet of space between you and others, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time, avoid touching your face, and stay home if you feel sick.

The latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee is available online at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html.  

Media Releases and Public Statements

March 27, 2020 - Preventing the Spread of COVID-19:  Campsites Closed at Prentice Cooper and Franklin State Forests
March 21, 2020 - Preventing the Spread of COVID-19:  Local Farms Offer Fresh, Local Foods
March 20, 2020 - Preventing the Spread of COVID-19:  Farmers Markets Focus on Safety
March 19, 2020 - Agriculture Commissioner:  "We Are Committed to Food Safety and the Food Supply"

Focusing on Food Safety

Food has NOT been identified as a likely source of COVID-19, however it can be spread between employees and customers. Food handlers can learn more about preventing the spread.

For consumers, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions about Takeout and Food Safety.

Pest Control Professionals

Pest Control Professionals

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is aware of questions regarding testing and accruing the required Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for pest control professionals. While managing the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, it is critical that the department take steps to protect the health of pesticide applicators, employees, and the public.

Please see the FAQs section below for details. Any questions not addressed here can be directed to Certification & Licensing Supervisor Phil Hurst at 615-837-5404.

Will I be able to take my scheduled certification or license exam through PSI Services?
    In accordance with state and federal guidance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, PSI notified the department that all testing centers will be closed from March 20, 2020 through April 13, 2020.

Will PSI contact me if I am already scheduled to take an exam?
    Yes, PSI will contact you to re-schedule your exam.

Will I lose my testing fee?
    No, you will not lose your testing fee.

Will TDA provide testing?
    TDA will not provide testing.

Will TDA waive all testing?
    TDA will not waive testing.   

As per 0080-09-04-.08 Certification of Commercial Pesticide Applicators:
(1)        No charter holder or licensed pest control operator shall allow an uncertified person to apply pesticides except in accordance with this rule.
(2)        Custom applications of pesticide must be applied by a pest control operator or certified applicator, licensed or certified in the category of services being provided, or by a person in the presence of a properly licensed pest control operator or certified applicator.
(3)        Commercial applicators who apply pesticides under the direct supervision of a licensed pest control operator must be certified in the category of services being provided.

Will the CEU requirement be waived?
    At present time, the CEU requirement will not be waived. However, TDA is considering other options and will provide updates as decisions are made.

Resources for Business Owners

Resources for Business Owners

U.S. Small Business Administration - COVID-19:  Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
U.S. Small Business Administration - Get Local Assistance
Extension Service -  Resources for Direct Farm Marketers During COVID-19 Outbreak

Good Health & Stopping the Spread

Good Health and Stopping the Spread

Tennessee Department of Health - COVID-19 Information and Updates
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Learn More About COVID-19
For Pet and Livestock Owners -  Animals and COVID-19

Federal Partners

Federal Partners

USDA has a wealth of information on their website, including FAQs on access to food, animal and plant health, food safety, and pet safety. This graphic shows their immediate measures to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by COVID-19.

USDA Rural Development is taking action to help rural residents, businesses, and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. They are frequently updating their website with resources and information.

What's in the CARES Act for Food and Agriculture? The American Farm Bureau weighs in.

Fact or Fiction?

Fact vs. Fiction of COVID-19

Federal Emergency Management Agency - Coronavirus Rumor Control

Education and Outrech

Education and Outreach

Extension Service - UT Extension COVID-19 Response
Extension Service - UT Extension COVID-19 Resources (right column of page)