The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) says producers are ineligible for some CARES Act Small Business Association loans, but eligible for others. AFBF Congressional Relations Director, RJ Karney, says they believe farmers can’t participate in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, but do qualify for paycheck assistance.
“As of now, AFBF’s interpretation of the rule is, farmers are eligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program…farmers are ineligible to participate in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program…and we are still working to resolve whether farmers are ineligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grant Program.”
Karney explained why some 10-billion dollars in EIDL loans are off-limits to producers.
“The explanation from SBA is, there are duplicative programs, administered via USDA’s Farm Service Agency, for disaster.”
That still leaves a pot of $350 billion in paycheck protection money farmers can apply for, though bank legal hurdles and confusing guidelines are slowing some applications. Meantime Karney says AFBF is stressing speed in getting $9.5 billion out the door to livestock, dairy, and specialty crop producers. Plus, $14 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation money to farmers and possibly ethanol producers.
“The American Farm Bureau Federation sent a letter to Secretary Perdue, urging he and his team over at USDA to set the highest priority on getting critical funding into farmers and ranchers’ hands, absolutely as soon as possible.”
The letter doesn’t tell the Secretary where AFBF wants those funds spent, but stresses the broad swath of farm sectors from agriculture to agritourism, that desperately need help to stay in business during the pandemic.
Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasters