U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today issued the following statement after Senate passage of the fourth Coronavirus package, the Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act:
“COVID-19 is causing unprecedented hardship for many small businesses, including America’s farmers. This bill includes urgent funding for our health care providers and small businesses, and will help ensure that businesses in our smaller towns and rural communities are able to get the help they need to survive this crisis. Importantly, this legislation also makes farmers and agricultural businesses eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.”
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provides:
Agriculture eligibility for economic disaster relief loans: $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Disaster Grant program. The bill also expands eligibility to allow farms and other agricultural enterprises with 500 or fewer employees to qualify for grants of up to $10,000 and low-interest loans of up to $2 million through this Small Business Administration program.
Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program: $310 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans to eligible farms and agricultural businesses. $60 billion of this will be set aside for the smallest community banks, credit unions, and Community Development Financial Institutions.
Earlier this month, Ranking Member Stabenow and Chairman Pat Roberts called on the Small Business Administration to immediately clarify and allow agricultural businesses and farms to apply for loans under the new Economic Injury Disaster Loan program created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Senators also urged the Small Business Administration to consider some of the unique attributes of farms as it implemented the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure farmers can access as much support under the CARES Act as possible.
Source: Senate Ag Committee press release