Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

Farm Bureau Seeks PPP Improvements

News / Newsline March 30, 2021

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Updates are needed to the paycheck protection program to allow all eligible farmers and ranchers access to the critical funding. Micheal Clements shares what the American Farm Bureau Federation says is required to make that happen.

Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation wants to see changes made to the Paycheck Protection Program to allow all self-employed farmers access to the program. AFBF Congressional Relations Director Emily Buckman says Congress improved the program, but the Small Business Administration is leaving some farmers out.

Buckman: Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 which contained improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program, including a provision that allows for self-employed farmers and ranchers who file a Schedule F with their tax return to use gross income rather than wages to determine eligibility. However, since the law was passed, the Small Business Administration has been denying loans to self-employed farmers and ranchers who operate in a partnership, or as sole-owner LLCs.

Clements: Buckman says the action by the Small Business Administration goes against the intent of lawmakers.

Buckman: The PPP is currently providing valuable assistance to many farmers and ranchers who have been struggling to navigate financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But contrary to congressional intent, not all self-employed farmers and ranchers can access the program.

Clements: Buckman says it’s a matter of fairness.

Buckman: Farm Bureau believes that Congress intended that all self-employed farmers and ranchers should be eligible for PPP loans as another means to help navigate challenges caused by the pandemic. In many ways, this denial has caused picking winners and losers among those who are self-employed.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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