Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Are you a farmer or rancher whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on August 11 that the deadline to apply for CFAP has been extended to September 11. The original application deadline was August 28, 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency offers multiple ways for you to apply for CFAP to meet your business needs.

Producers self-certify when applying for CFAP, and documentation is not submitted with the application. You may be asked for additional documentation to support your certification of eligible commodities, so you should retain the documentation used to complete your application.

County of Madera Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant

August 5, 2020

The County of Madera Board of Supervisors approved a Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant program to help support small businesses located in Madera County, including the City of Madera and the City of Chowchilla. The County will partner with the Madera County Economic Development Commission (MCEDC) to disperse over $3.8 Million in the form of small business grants. The County received the funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act (or CARES Act) from the State of California originating from the United States Government. “This program affirms the Board’s commitment to use available resources to help ensure businesses in the County see a path to recovery from this crisis,” said David Rogers, Board Chairman.

By state mandate many businesses that had just recently reopened were forced to shut their doors for a second time. “Small businesses employ a significant portion of our community, especially in the hard hit sectors like tourism and hospitality. The action taken by the Board of Supervisors will give our local economy a chance to weather this pandemic,” said Jay Varney, Madera County CAO. “So many of our small businesses throughout the County have been devastated by the COVID- 19 Pandemic we felt this was a great way to help them survive during these unprecedented times,” said Bobby Kahn, Executive Director of MCEDC. “It has been the absolute worst nightmare come true for so many industries.”

Eligible businesses with 50 or fewer employees can apply for grants in the amount of $5,000 or $10,000 depending on the size of their business. They will be able to obtain applications by going to or call the MCEDC office at 559-675-7768 for assistance.

California High-Speed Rail Authority releases video promoting project, jobs creation

Work is booming on more than 32 active construction sites across the Central Valley. As we move forward building the nation’s first high-speed rail system, we are proud to announce that more than 4,000 construction jobs have been created, with more than 73% of the workers dispatched to our various construction sites reported living in the Central Valley.

We expect to keep the momentum this summer by completing and opening several overcrossings along Construction Package 1 and 2-3. Watch our latest Construction Update video to see the work in action and to get the latest on construction anytime, visit

OmniTRAX’s Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad Works with San Joaquin Partnership to Launch Rail-Ready Sites Program

DENVER & STOCKTON, CA – OmniTRAX, one of the fastest growing railroads in North America and an affiliate of The Broe Group, is bringing its Rail-Ready Sites program to the Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad (STE). The program, started last year at the Winchester & Western Railroad (WW) in West Virginia and New Jersey, delivers the benefits of rail to shipping customers through rail-served sites.
OmniTRAX is working closely with the San Joaquin Partnership to promote the best developable, rail-ready property adjacent to the STE. The initial three sites, which total 83 acres and include a 65 acre parcel, are ideal locations for rail-served agriculture, manufacturing, asphalt, cement, chemicals, food processing, lumber, steel and distribution facilities.  “San Joaquin County and the greater Stockton region are going through an industrial and agricultural renaissance that our Rail-Ready Sites program will help to support. Working with the San Joaquin Partnership, OmniTRAX will bring new jobs and economic growth to the area through increased rail-served development,” said Ean Johnson, Vice President, Industrial Development at OmniTRAX. “We are strategically located in the heart of Northern California with the right land, infrastructure and workforce that will maximize success for rail-served sites. We provide a business-friendly climate and local government support that when partnered with the expert experience that OmniTRAX brings to the table, generate a winning formula for our community,” said Bob Gutierrez, Interim President & CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership.
About OmniTRAX, Inc.
As one of North America’s largest and fastest growing private railroad and transportation management companies, OmniTRAX’s core capabilities range from providing transportation and supply chain management services to railroad and port companies, to providing intermodal and industrial switching operations to railroads, ports and a diverse group of industrial companies. Through its affiliation with The Broe Group and its portfolio of managed companies, OmniTRAX also has the unique capability of offering specialized industrial development and real estate solutions, both on and off the rail network managed by OmniTRAX. More information is available at
About The Broe Group
Based in Denver, The Broe Group and its affiliates form a privately-owned, multi-billion-dollar real estate, transportation, energy and investment organization with assets owned and managed across North America. Together, Broe managed companies employ more than 1,000 people and support employment of thousands of others through operations such as its Great Western Industrial Park in Northern Colorado. Its transportation affiliate, OmniTRAX, Inc., is one of North America’s largest private railroad and transportation management companies specializing in: management services, railroad and port services, intermodal solutions and industrial switching operations. Its energy affiliates include Great Western Petroleum LLC, the largest private operator in the third most prolific U.S. basin. Broe Real Estate Group acquires, develops and manages office and industrial properties, medical office buildings and multi-family communities across the country, including premier assets in many of the most desirable markets. The Broe Group also has multiple investment affiliates, including Three Leaf Ventures, which is focused on innovative healthcare technology start-ups. For more information, visit
About San Joaquin Partnership
The San Joaquin Partnership is a public/private non-profit economic development corporation serving all of San Joaquin County and its seven incorporated cities. For the past 30 years, the Partnership has attracted business and industry to the region with marketing and outreach strategies.  Our team provides custom tailored marketing plans, confidential due diligence, site selection, government affairs and match making with local businesses that will assist your company in establishing a successful future in San Joaquin County.

U.S. Employment Outlook Hits 10 year Low

  • Hiring plans decline across all 12 sectors with those in wholesale and retail trade and construction reporting most significant reductions
  • Manpower report has bad news for Bakersfield, but fairly good news for Fresno, Sacramento and Stockton
  • Some early signs of optimism emerge

Employers in the U.S. report significant declines in hiring plan for the third quarter, according to the ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN) employment outlook survey of more than 7,700 U.S. employers conducted in April and May and released Tuesday. Hiring plans in wholesale and retail trade and construction show steepest declines from the previous quarter reflecting the impact of the shelter in place orders across the country. In contrast, employers in education and health services (+13 percent) and transportation and utilities (+4 percent) report the most positive outlooks as frontline workers continue to be in high demand both through and after the pandemic peak.

In 18 percent of businesses surveyed across the West, employers expect to grow payrolls during the July to September period. With 13 percent of employers anticipating a decline and 59 percent expecting no change, the resulting net employment outlook is +5 percent. But once data are adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, the outlook decreases considerably quarterover-quarter and year-over-year, and is the weakest reported since 2010 Moderately weaker hiring plans are reported in three sectors: education & health services, information and nondurable goods manufacturing. Employers in four of the West’s industry sectors report considerably weaker labor markets in comparison with the second quarter of 2020: construction, financial activities, other services and wholesale & retail trade.

Outlooks decline sharply in five of the West’s industry sectors when compared with the previous quarter: government, leisure & hospitality, durable goods manufacturing, professional & business services and transportation & utilities. Regionally, Fresno is among the metro areas that Manpower predicts will see double-digit employment growth. Manpower puts Fresno at 14 percent, along with the Buffalo, Saint Louis and Tampa metros. Sacramento is predicted to see an 11 percent growth, while Stockton may see employment grow by 7 percent in the third quarter, the report says. The only other Central Valley metro included in Manpower’s look at the 100 largest metros in the U.S. – Bakersfield – is predicted to have a net loss of jobs of 7 percent, one of the worst showings in the country, exceeded only by the Dallas and Miami metros.

Employers were also asked when they expect hiring to return to pre-COVID-19 levels. An optimistic 60 percent said before the end of 2020, with many expecting a return before the end of summer. Employers in education, construction and government expect the shortest COVID19 hiring impact while those in the professional sector including law firms, accountants and consultants are most uncertain. “The past weeks and months have seen the labor market transform overnight, with many industries halting hiring instantly, while others including healthcare, ecommerce and logistics saw immediate growth,” says Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America.

“These numbers reveal the depth of the impact this crisis has had on hiring intentions across our country, yet we are beginning to see very early signs for cautious optimism, ” Ms. Frankiewicz says. “As states open up essential roles remain in demand, as well as tech skills including software & app developers, and even new roles like temperature checkers and contact tracers. It is encouraging to see so many employers predict a return to pre-pandemic hiring though we must remember any signs of recovery are fragile. Now is the time for everyone to join together to rebuild confidence and create opportunities for everyone as America gets safely back to work.”

New Patterson manufacturing facility to fill jobs, boost economy


A technology company expects to hire 250 workers to run new Patterson facilities scheduled to open by the end of this year.

The full-time openings will include construction, sales, engineering and architecture jobs, said John Rowland, President and Co-founder of S²A Modular, a sustainable building company. S²A Modular plans to begin construction in July, Rowland said, creating a Patterson manufacturing factory where workers will build high-tech single family homes, apartments and hotels. The site plans shows the company will take up 1.15 million square feet along Park Center Drive, directly across the street from the Amazon Fulfillment Center. The addition to Patterson’s industrial area could boost the regional economy by $85 million, according to an analysis by Opportunity Stanislaus, which helped bring S²A Modular to the county. The business got its permit approved May 14, Rowland said, about four months after Opportunity Stainslaus CEO David White pitched potential locations to executives. “In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time,” White said in a city of Patterson press release.


The estimated impact of $85 million accounts for the time it takes to build the facility and the first year 250 people are employed, April Henderson Potter, director of market research, said in an email. The total in the Opportunity Stanislaus analysis includes employee compensation and construction costs, as well as taxes such as sales tax, personal income tax and taxes on production and imports.

Demand and business in other industries may also increase, Henderson Potter said, as workers spend their income on local housing, restaurants and medical services. Beyond new employees, Rowland said S²A Modular will also source local delivery firms. “The impact reaches much further than just within the factory,” Rowland said. “It really spreads out into the community and even the surrounding communities that we do work in.”

The company has already hired three people to staff the Patterson facilities, but when mass hiring will begin has yet to be announced.


Founded in 2018, the company headquartered in Palo Alto manufactures smart, sustainable residential and commercial buildings. It constructs buildings with solar panels, battery storage and energy management systems, allowing home or building owners to disconnect from utility company power grids and gas lines. S²A Modular buildings are custom-made in factories instead of on-site. In addition to the Patterson facility, another factory is being built in Hemet in Southern California.

The company is the latest to move into the business park in western Stanislaus County, which has easy access to Interstate 5. Companies that added distribution centers to the area in the past 10 years or so include Amazon, Restoration Hardware and Grainger.

California’s Recovery Must Focus on its “Essential” Central Valley

California State Assembly, 34th District

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Crises have a way of revealing what’s important. And Californians adjusting to life in the age of COVID-19 are learning the importance of the Central Valley. The Central Valley is home to many parts of the economy that continue to operate during the crisis producing products and providing services that we all rely on. It’s a place where food is grown, where warehouses and fleets of trucks distribute essential goods, and where the energy to power our state is made. Without these things, Californians would not be able to persevere through this pandemic.

The question Governor Newsom and the rest of the state’s leaders must ask themselves, does California have a future without essential places like the Central Valley? This crisis is proving once and for all that our state’s recovery can’t fully take hold unless we support essential regions.Right now, we recognize the everyday heroes of this crisis in the Central Valley and throughout California. However, over the years, the State of California has imposed challenges on these same professions from expensive mandates and complex rules that hinder the growing of our food and delivery of products. That can’t continue. Post-COVID-19, our laws must change to reflect our new reality.

Governor Newsom convened a task force charged with developing strategies for economic recovery, both short-term and long-term. It’s vitally important that this task force, which is dominated by individuals who represent large urban areas, provide adequate attention to the importance and needs of essential Central Valley industries. In a head-scratching decision, the co-chair is former Democratic presidential candidate, Tom Steyer, who wants to eliminate entire industries like oil and gas. My hope is the task force can aside old political agendas, and find a new way forward.

Like the rest of California, the Central Valley is hurting from unprecedented job losses. Many workers in the energy industry are out of jobs due to the downturn in oil prices, farms are hurting from lost demand from restaurants, and countless entrepreneurs are unsure if they will ever open their doors again. Short-term, the top priority must be supporting businesses, especially small ones, because people need to get back to work first. The best place to start is a moratorium on new state regulations, taxes or fees on businesses unless they are a COVID-19-related. Hitting the pause button will benefit the job recovery in the entire state, not just the Central Valley. If we want jobs to bounce back, the state needs to do everything in its power to reduce burdens so local businesses can rehire and expand.

Long-term, California is fortunate to be home to the Central Valley that feeds not only our state but the world. The state can’t continue to ignore the needs of agriculture and the importance of having a local, reliable food supply is. Sacramento needs to deliver on overdue water solutions for Central Valley farmers and create more sensible regulations that preserve the environment while keeping us competitive with other countries. This is also an opportunity to bolster domestic manufacturing in the Central Valley and other inland areas, so we are never dependent on foreign suppliers for crucial things like medical equipment. Those priorities will both create jobs and make our state more resilient to future disasters.

The COVID-19 crisis is a reminder of how reliant other parts of the state are on their inland neighbors for food and other essential goods. The resilience of our food supply and proximity to California-grown food has allowed grocery store shelves to stay stocked, but what if those shelves went empty? Other parts of the US are preparing for food shortages, but local supply chains have spared us similar shortages. That may not always be the case in the future if inland areas remain neglected by Sacramento. There are a lot of lessons to learn from the COVID-19 crisis, and none more important than realizing what’s essential. What’s clear is that the Central Valley’s success also is essential for California’s future and recovery.

Assemblyman Vince Fong represents the 34th California Assembly District which includes portions of Kern County.

Tulare Among Fastest Growing Cities in the State

By John Lindt

City grows by over 1,300 people in 2019, ranking it 29th in percent change from 2018 to 2019

CENTRAL VALLEY – California’s growth rate was nearly stagnant in 2019, with over two-thirds of counties seeing a dip in population, but not in inland areas like the Central Valley, where nearly every county saw an increase in population.

The Central Valley and the Inland Empire regions maintained strong growth compared to growth that slowed to nearly zero, and in many cases negative, along the coast, according to population estimates released by California’s Department of Finance earlier this month. Tulare ranked 29th on the state’s list of fastest growing cities with a more than 2% growth last year. That means an additional 1,300 residents moved into Tulare County’s second largest city bringing its total population to 67,834. Two other Tulare County cities were among the top 100 fastest growing cities in the state. Dinuba ranked 64th on the list with a 1.19% increase and Woodlake came in at No. 74 with a 1.07% increase. The county’s largest city, Visalia, is now the 44th largest city in the state with 138,649 residents, an increase of nearly 1,000 people in 2019.

Lindsay and Farmersville had the least amount of growth last year with just one and three new residents, respectively. Exeter increased by 21 people and Porterville by 165. Overall, Tulare County grew faster than the state with a modest increase of 3,389 people for a new population estimate of 479,977 and is now the 18th largest county in the state. Nearby San Luis Obispo shrunk by a few hundred residents.

Growth in California’s cities was nearly split between those with increases (256) and those with decreases (225). Of the ten largest cities in California, Bakersfield had the largest percentage gain in population (1.4 percent, or 5,500) with Sacramento (1.1 percent, or 5,700) a distant second while Fresno came in 5th place for largest numeric change (3,757, or 0.69%). Fastest growing, many inland, cities include Guadalupe that grew by 4.1%, Wasco 4.85%, Shafter 2.98%,Kingsburg 2.65%,Clovis 2.24%,Merced  2.37%, Tulare 2.07%, Manteca 1,68%, Coalinga 1.50%, Parlier 1.48% and Bakersfield 1.43%.

People wanting more space are turning to inland areas with the cost of living, and the real estate, are more affordable. Cities with a high ratio of single family to multi-family growth include: Sacramento (73.2 percent single family), Bakersfield (99.0 percent single family), Fresno (81.1 percent single family), and Menifee (99.8 percent single family) in Riverside County.

Some of the population dips in Valley cities were disproportionately affected by prison populations. State prisons are generally located in remote areas; as a result, increases or decreases in this population can account for significant changes in their respective counties. State prison declines led to population decreases in McFarland, Taft, and California City in Kern County, while driving population increases in Norco in Riverside County, Victorville in San Bernardino County, Soledad in Monterey County, and Vacaville in Solano County. Wasco in Kern County and Lathrop in San Joaquin County were among the top cities for housing growth in areas that did not experience devastating wildfires. Near the top of the fastest growing communities statewide is wildfire-devastated Paradise in Butte County that recorded a population increase of 3.26% in 2019 from 4485 in 2018 to 4631.

The city was destroyed by the Camp Fire in November 8, 2018 when eighty-six people died, tens of thousands displaced and 18,804 buildings were destroyed. It was the deadliest and most destructive fire in California. Before the fire the small city had a population of 26,800. After the Camp Fire a door-to-door count in April 2019 found just 2,034 people left. Now there is a modest comeback, according to the state count, to 4631 persons as the community slowly rebuilds.,its%20total%20population%20to%2067%2C834.

Plant sales increase as more people take on gardening

Throughout the Central Valley nurseries are deemed essential because they sale fruits, vegetables, and outdoor plants. With numerous businesses temporary closed to stay at home restrictions, more and more people are turning to gardening swamping local nurseries with their business.

Standing Tall Against the Surge-Sutter Health

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently unveiled a guide outlining when and how California may lift various coronavirus restrictions based on a set of six criteria, including hospitals’ ability to handle any potential COVID-19 patient surges. However, Newsom cautioned against moving too fast, saying “we can’t get ahead of ourselves.” While social distancing guidelines and sheltering in place orders appear to be helping flatten the curve in California, we don’t know whether recently reported holiday gatherings for Passover or Easter that were outside these guidelines, may cause spikes in COVID-19 cases.