The National Pork Producers Council joined 30 agriculture organizations yesterday in urging the U.S. Small Business Administration to ensure agricultural business can participate in the economic disaster loan program included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Earlier this week, the SBA posted information on its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program website stating applicants do not qualify for loans if they are an agricultural enterprise (e.g. farm). However, the CARES Act, signed into law last month, does not specifically exclude agriculture from this program. Congress intended for all businesses fewer than 500 employees to participate, the NPPC and the agriculture organizations wrote yesterday to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.
"Agricultural producers and businesses are critical elements of this nation's economy and food system. Prior to COVID-19, farmers and ranchers had already experienced a drastic 24% decline in net farm income from highs experienced just six years ago. With the further downturn in the economy, agricultural businesses are at risk of closure and may be required to lay off employees," the letter explains. "Many agricultural producers need access to this critical source of financing to help preserve their businesses and avoid further disruptions to our economy and food systems."
"As part of the critical U.S. food supply infrastructure, U.S. pork producers are committed to keeping Americans and consumers around the world supplied with nutritious protein. To ensure a continued and uninterrupted supply of pork to America's kitchens, hog farmers must have access to necessary resources, including this vital economic disaster loan program," says NPPC President Howard "A.V." Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wis. "We urge SBA to implement this program as intended by Congress, allowing pork producers to participate and remain committed to keeping consumers supplied with nutritious protein."
Click here to learn more about U.S. pork producer efforts to ensure an uninterrupted supply of pork.