MFU applauds addition of farmers to EIDL eligibility, thanks Congressional delegation for support
April 23, 2020
The latest passed by Congress this week contained an important update to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) emergency loan programs: Farmers are now eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), in addition to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill.
The change reflects advocacy efforts from Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) and National Farmers Union (NFU). MFU President Gary Wertish sent a letter to Minnesota’s Congressional delegation earlier this month asking that “all family farms who have been affected by the fallout of this virus be made eligible for emergency loans made available as a response to the pandemic, including from the SBA.”
Additionally, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, both Minnesota Democrats, sent a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza with the same request.
Unlike the previous version of EIDL, this new bill makes agriculture enterprises under 500 employees eligible for grants (or forgivable “loan advance”) of up to $10,000 and low-interest loans of up to $2 million through EIDL. The bill also replenishes the PPP with $310 billion.
“As family farmers make up a significant part of Minnesota’s business community, I thank our Senators and Representatives for making emergency loans available to farmers,” President Wertish said upon the bill’s passage. “This will help some farmers access financial resources they need to weather the pandemic.
“Family farms not only feed, clothe, and fuel their communities, they also support other small businesses across rural Minnesota, including local feed mills, meat processors, and farm supply stores. This makes their success central to our rural economies. There’s still more work to do—including securing direct relief from USDA—and MFU continues to advocate for family farmers and rural communities every day.”
“The EIDL expansion to farmers affected by coronavirus will be of great assistance,” said Carla Mertz, a farmer from Princeton, Minn. “At Iron Shoe Farm, 90% of our business was direct to restaurants. Due to restaurant closures, we have since lost $16,000 in the first 3 weeks alone, and now $3,000 per week on average until those restaurants open, and that is if they open.”
It’s expected that the funds from these SBA programs will go quickly once again, so MFU encourages farmers to talk to their lenders today and apply for funding as soon as it is available.
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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Working for Farmers (www.mfu.org)