Farmers and food businesses may be able to take advantage of several grant and loan programs being offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following are some of the available
We are working with our federal partners to better understand the opportunities in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Agriculture will most certainly be impacted like other sectors of the economy, and we are grateful ag is included in these
Included in the overall plan is $9.5 billion to Office of the Secretary (USDA) for ag producers impacted by coronavirus (livestock, dairy, farmers markets, restaurants, specialty crop, and local food systems.) This is a broad package with not a lot of details right now on how it would be distributed. As more details on program specifics
become available, they will be shared.
Also included in the CARES Act is $100 million for the RECONNECT PILOT program. This will provide grants for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. North Carolina is participating in this pilot already, so hopefully the reach of broadband in rural communities can be broaden with this additional funding. Broadband is important infrastructure for rural North Carolina, and especially so now because of the need to distance ourselves from one another.
| Updated 3/26: USDA Extends Deadline for Local Agriculture
Market Program Grants
|Deadlines to submit new request for USDA’s 2020 Local Agriculture
Market Program grants have been extended by two weeks to end of May. For more details on the specific programs and opportunities please
check: Farmers Market Promotion Program Local Food Promotion Program Regional Food System Partnership
The Department of Treasury (Treasury) and Small Business Administration (SBA) released an interim final rule on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) . Agricultural producers are eligible to participate in the program and should reach out to their bankers and/or agricultural lenders to apply immediately. Loans will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
(New) American Farm Bureau and PPP Loans:
(New) Farm Credit Administration:
The USDA Coronavirus Resource Page
has been updated to include FAQs on the Paycheck Protection Program (please scroll down to the appropriate tab). Since we have received this question numerous times, we want to highlight this section:
Q: Do H-2A or H-2B workers on my payroll count towards my eligibility and total possible loan amount?
A: Only employees with a principal place of residence in the U.S. count
toward eligibility and calculation of the PPP loan amount.
USDA has said they will continue to update these FAQs in the coming days. Please know that we continue to communicate the needs of our farmers and agribusinesses to our federal partners.
Updated 4/24/20: Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
The other SBA program that Congress has opened to all small farms and ag and food businesses, including nonprofits, is Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). This program was also addressed in the CARES Act, but SBA policy had previously prohibited most farms and farm-based businesses from applying. The legislation passed the week of April 24 explicitly makes agricultural operations eligible to apply for EIDLs.
How EIDL Works: Eligible operations, which now
includes farms, that were in business as of Jan. 31, 2020 and that:
may apply for an emergency of up to $2 million.
Upon submitting an application, a business may request an emergency advance of up to $10,000, which does not have to be repaid, even if the loan application is denied, or the business chooses not to accept the loan once approved.
Current SBA policy limits the amount of any advance to $1,000 per employee of
the business as of Jan. 31, 2020.
EIDL advance funds may be used to:
Advance Not Automatic: You must make sure to request the advance when filling out an EIDL application. The bill passed this week authorized another $10 billion for EIDL advances; just as with the first $10 billion appropriated for EIDL advances under the CARES Act, this new round of funding is expected to disappear quickly, so you should apply right away if you want access to an advance.
Other EIDL Terms: Congress has made the terms of
full loans requested under the EIDL program easier. The maximum interest rate is 3.75% for for-profit businesses, and 2.75% for nonprofits. No collateral is required for loans of $25,000 or less, and no guarantee is required for loans of $200,000 or less.
The application may be submitted electronically or by mail. Although Congress authorized SBA to make EIDLs solely on the basis of an applicant’s credit score or other ‘alternative appropriate methods,’ so far SBA has required applicants to provide:
The SBA determines final loan terms on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the actual economic injury your business has sustained and your ability to repay the loan and any other obligations. EIDL terms are up to 30 years.
Eligibility Note: In addition to having fewer than
500 employees, your business must also fall under the cap set by SBA for defining ‘small business’ in your sector. For farms, including livestock and aquaculture, that cap is $1 million in annual revenues. For timber and fishing operations the revenue cap is even higher, and for food manufacturing operations, there is no revenue cap to be eligible.
Where to Apply: Loans are made by the SBA
directly. You can fill out the application online, or contact your local SBA offices:
Updated 4/15: Appalachian Grown certified farmers are now eligible to apply for an up to $500 immediate needs grant. Supported by the Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund, this grant will help farmers who have lost sales and farm income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more details, including how to apply, see the link below.
ASAP – Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
Golden LEAF Foundation: The North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending program supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. This rapid recovery loan helps small businesses bridge the gap between when crisis strikes and when federal loans, insurance payouts, and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover.
Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses affected by COVID-19. Sign up for updates here.