AFBF: Farmers Impacted By COVID-19 Have Options

Farmers and ranchers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic will have several aid programs available to assist them, including programs under development by the USDA and the Small Business Administration. American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Veronica Nigh said several portions of the CARES Act are targeted for the Ag industry.

“There was a plus up in CCC funding to refill previous funding levels, there’s also a $9.5 billion allotment to use at USDA’s discretion. In addition to the USDA funds, farmers can avail themselves of some programs available through the Small Business Administration.”

She said while farmers are not eligible for the SBA Emergency Disaster Loan Program, they can apply for assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.

“This allows farmers and small business to be able to pay employees for an eight week period during a range between February 13th and June 30th. So, if you are a business of 500 employees or fewer, you are eligible for that program.”

Nigh added the $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program is first come, first serve.

“If you go to SBA.gov, you can find the location of local assistance near you,” Nigh said. “It’s important to know that the Paycheck Protection Program, you don’t apply through SBA specifically, you actually apply through locally approved lenders. But SBA is providing a lot of guidance on their website where you can get more information and they also provide a list of approved local lenders.”

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