As you may know, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated significant resources to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses survive and keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Traditionally agricultural producers have not previously been eligible for a majority of SBA programs. However, the CARES Act broadened eligibility criteria to provide relief for all small businesses suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of this, there has been a lot of uncertainty relative to ag’s ability to participate. NCBA has been working with all relevant stakeholders to address this issue and wanted to provide you with a quick status update on two programs in particular.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
PPP provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. There have been conflicting reports relative to individual agricultural producers eligibility to participate in PPP. However, it’s our understanding that livestock producers will be eligible for PPP.
All banks, as well as a broad range of nonbanks, are eligible to make PPP loans. NCBA is aware that SBA officials have outlined their intention to get Farm Credit System institutions involved in the PPP program in the next couple of days so they can be prepared to begin lending when the program officially opens on Friday. Attached is a high-level overview of PPP and more information on the program can found here. We anticipate additional guidance from the Department of Treasury/SBA in the coming days and will be sure to share that with our affiliates.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Unfortunately, SBA recently published an EIDL application website, https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/, that prohibits agricultural enterprises (e.g., farm), other than aquaculture enterprises, agricultural cooperatives, or nurseries from qualifying. To rectify this, NCBA signed onto the attached coalition letter explaining the changes Congress made in the CARES Act should allow for agricultural producer participation and urging SBA to take immediate action to rectify this.
Please stay tuned for additional updates and in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need more information.
Executive Director, Government Affairs
NCBA Center for Public Policy