Congress passes $484 billion coronavirus bill, farmers should act fast


The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate approved a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill late Thursday, funding small businesses and hospitals. This latest COVID-19 economic rescue measure would give farmers another pool of federal loans and grants to tap by ending restrictions on agricultural eligibility for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). President Donald Trump is expected to quickly sign the aid bill. 

Applications, which have been on hold for additional funding, will re-open soon (U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted it would open Monday). Farmers and ranchers seeking assistance “should do it relatively quickly,” Claudia Larson, government relations director at the National Milk Producers Federation said. “It’s been projected that these funds are going to run out within 36 hours after they’re released.”

Robert McKnight, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association said, “I applaud everyone within the Trump administration and Congress for continuing to address the needs of cattle producers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act will not only replenish funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, but will also allow agricultural producers to access the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program for the first time. Access to these low-interest, forgivable loan programs are vital for many cow-calf producers trying to maintain their operations during the crisis and will help ensure consumers continue to get the beef they demand.”

Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose said, “Farm Credit applauds the quick action by Congress and President Trump in approving this latest assistance package. We will do everything in our power to get farmers and ranchers access to funding through the Paycheck Protection Program. With the unprecedented disruption in our nation’s food supply chain, ag producers face low prices at the farm gate while consumers pay higher prices in the grocery store. Farmers will need even more assistance in the weeks ahead to secure our food supply and continue their role as the first step in the food supply chain.”

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