Through Dec. 15, the Washington State Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for a new bilingual program created to help the state’s small, specialty crop farms forced to adjust in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a WSDA news release. 

With funding from a WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, the WSDA Regional Markets Program is partnering with Business Impact NW, a regional small business support organization, to offer “Profiting From Your Pivot,” a new business service providing one-on-one coaching to specialty crop farmers who had to “pivot” their business model due to the pandemic. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

Program participants will receive free business coaching, farm mentorship and the opportunity to select from a portfolio of professional services that includes sales and marketing, financing and loans, business planning and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audit support.

Participants can also be reimbursed for their first successful U.S. Department of Agriculture GAP certification, if achieved during the course of the program. GAP certification can help farms expand their market channels and create new business opportunities, according to the release.

An application and more information is available on the WSDA Profiting From Your Pivot webpage at: The page includes information in English and Spanish. 

A virtual information session is scheduled at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, Friday, Dec. 3. 

—by Jonelle Mejica