Apr 09, 2020
Assistance for American Workers and Small Businesses
The U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) are administering government programs designed to assist American workers and small businesses, including agriculture producers.
ASA was among agriculture groups that sent a joint letter to SBA last week asking for clarification that farmers are eligible for loans under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) as expanded by Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. And, Congressional leaders continue to push producer eligibility for EIDL.
Agriculture producers are considered eligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under CARES and apply for SBA loans. You can access the SBA here for an overview of the PPP, including loan eligibility, application information and deadlines. Interested producers should consult their bankers/ag lenders now to start the application process. Although the program is open until June 30, 2020, the Administration encourages persons to apply quickly because there is a funding cap, and lenders need time to process loans. Congress and the Administration have discussed this week approving additional resources for SBA loans, but this has not happened yet and is not guaranteed.
If you are considering applying for a loan, the links below should provide helpful information:
ASA continues to work with other agricultural groups to assure soy and agriculture interests are considered during the C-19 pandemic. These actions include signing on to COVID-19-related policy letters sent this week to both the Administration and governors across the country to ensure critical agriculture workers are able to continue their jobs and produce, transport, and distribute their agriculture products.
As new travel and work restrictions are put in place across the country, U.S. governors have been asked to strongly consider adopting the recently-revised U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s definition of “critical infrastructure workforce” that includes food and agriculture. States are asked to deploy the DHS guidelines of critical businesses to local government and law enforcements to aid the continued movement of food and agricultural inputs and related services. Read here.
In order to adequately and efficiently respond to new disruptions and logistical challenges in the supply chain, agricultural groups are eager to work with Secretary Perdue and others at USDA to develop necessary delivery mechanisms for funding provided by Congress, both COVID-19-designated funds and the replenishment of borrowing authority to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to help sustain U.S. farmers, ranchers, and all agricultural producers. Read here.
Finally, farm groups including ASA sent a request to the Administration for urgent intervention to encourage the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to promptly adopt its Proposed Rule on Detention and Demurrage and combat the imposition of millions of dollars of unfair detention and demurrage penalties on U.S. agriculture by ocean carriers and marine terminal operators during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read here.
Coronavirus Relief Uncertain as Senate Hits Standoff Small Businesses
Proposals for additional coronavirus relief failed in the Senate today, as lawmakers clash over increased funding for small businesses. Now, according to the Washington Post, the path forward is unclear. Read more.
USDA Announces Loan Maturity for Marketing Assistance Loans Now Extended to 12 Months
As part of USDA’s implementation of the CARES Act, producers of eligible commodities now have 12 months rather than nine to repay their commodity loans. Effective immediately, the maturity extension for current, active loans is automatically extended an additional 3 months. These Marketing Assistant Loan (MAL) extensions apply to nonrecourse loans for crop years 2018, 2019 and 2020 and will afford farmers more time to market their commodities and repay their loans at a later time. Loans that matured March 31 have already been automatically extended by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). USDA in its press release today said most commodities qualify. Read more.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Extends Emergency Declaration to May 15
This afternoon the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the extension of its national emergency declaration to May 15. For truck drivers essential to the supply chain, this will continue to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting goods in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
States are continuing to issue their own emergency declarations that are providing hours-of-service relief as well as relief from truck weight limits. It is recommended to check with your state associations and state departments of transportation for more information on the state-level application of the emergency declarations on trucking rules. Read the full Emergency Declaration here.