SBA: Ag businesses eligible for COVID-19 disaster aid
On May 4, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that agricultural businesses are eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. The SBA’s EIDL portal was reopened on May 4 as a result of additional funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act (H.R. 266).
The legislation, signed into law by President Donald Trump on April 24, provided an additional $60 billion for small businesses, including farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as $100 billion for hospitals.
The SBA is accepting new EIDL applications only from agricultural business. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, the SBA indicated it will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.
For more information, please visit: www.sba.gov/Disaster.
“Both our hospitals and our farmers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping all of us cared for and fed. I asked the administration to provide clarity so these essential organizations and businesses can access critical federal assistance that will ensure they can continue serving their communities now and after this crisis ends," U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler said in a released. statement.
In April Sen. Loeffler asked the SBA to ensure that farmers and agricultural businesses impacted by the coronavirus are able to apply for these loans. She also asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza for clarifying guidance on how 501(a) nonprofit hospitals can apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, specifically for non-profit hospitals that have not yet converted their status from 501(a) to 501(c)3, despite meeting all the conditions of a 501(c)3 hospital.
"I am grateful that Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza acted quickly in providing this guidance. Going forward, I will monitor the implementation to make sure Georgia hospitals and farmers area able to access this important funding stream,” Loeffler's released statement said.
“I applaud the availability of this financial support for farmers and thank Senator Loeffler for her work on this issue,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long.
SENATE VOTES TO INCREASE LOAN OPTIONS FOR FARMERS
On Tuesday, April 21, the U.S. Senate voted to approve H.R. 266 (116), allowing for an additional $484 billion in coronavirus aid. Included in the package is an additional $310 billion towards the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The bipartisan agreement would also allow agricultural operations with fewer than 500 employees to qualify for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), which offers up to $10,000 in advance to businesses that are losing revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers and agricultural organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB), had previously asked SBA to make corrections to the bill to ensure that farmers and ranchers were eligible for the program.
“It is encouraging news that we are making another tool available to U.S. agricultural producers through the EIDL program. Farmers and ranchers have suffered economic injury and need every bit of help they can get," said House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX). “This new eligibility, while urgently critical, is no substitute for a comprehensive, fully funded relief program through the Department of Agriculture.”
Agriculture and related industries are set to receive about $4.4 billion of additional funds in total, according to data from the SBA. The House is expected to take a vote on Thursday, April 23. To keep farmers up to date on the PPP and other ag-related COVID-19 concerns, the United States Department of Agriculture has published a FAQ website that you can access by clicking here.
NOTE: Farmers and ranchers should continue consulting with their accountant, tax preparer and/or financial advisor about the PPP and EIDL application for their particular situation because this additional funding will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis and will go quickly.