CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION FOR FARMERS
Farmers are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program as long as they meet the same criteria necessary criteria set forth by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Additional information on the Paycheck Protection Program can be found on SBA’s website here.
The United States department of Agriculture (USDA) announced increased flexibility on Farm Loan, Disaster, Conservation, and Safety Net Programs specific to farms and commodities.
Producers are encouraged to reach out to their local USDA Service Center for additional guidance, which can be found at farmers.gov/service-center-locator. Additionally, producers are advised to enroll in a Farm Service Agency (FSA) eAuth account, if they have not done so already, at farmers.gov/sign-in. Through this FSA eAuth account, producers can view USDA farm loan information and payments and view and track certain USDA program applications and payments. Customers can track payments, report completed practices, request conservation assistance and electronically sign documents.
Additional information and resources for farmers and producers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak can be found online at farmers.gov/coronavirus and usda.gov/coronavirus.
The recent CARES Act provided the following relief for farmers and ranchers:
- $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund to help farmers who are experiencing financial losses from the coronavirus crisis, including targeted support for fruit and vegetable growers, dairy and livestock farmers, and local food producers, who have been shorted from receiving emergency assistance in the past.
- $14 billion to fund the Farm Bill’s farm safety net through the Commodity Credit Corporation.
- Eligibility for farmers and agricultural and rural businesses to receive up to $10 million in small business interruption loans from eligible lenders, including Farm Credit institutions, through the Small Business Administration. Repayment forgiveness will be provided for funds used for payroll, rent or mortgage, and utility bills.
- $3 million to increase capacity at the USDA Farm Service Agency to meet increased demand from farmers affected by the coronavirus crisis.
My colleagues and I in the Florida Delegation sent a letter to USDA Secretary Perdue encouraging the USDA to purchase the surplus of locally grown foods for federal nutrition programs. Full text of this letter can be found here.