Program must be available to farmers to avoid more losses and insecurity in food supply
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Potato Council joined 30 agriculture organizations and businesses yesterday calling on the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to include agricultural businesses in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, as intended by Congress in the CARES Act.
The notice on the SBA website currently states applicants must certify they are “not an agricultural enterprise (e.g., farm), other than an aquaculture enterprise, agricultural cooperative or nursery.” Yet, the actual text of the CARES Act does not exclude agriculture producers and states all businesses with fewer than 500 employees can participate in the program.
In a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, NPC and the agriculture organizations wrote, “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-percent 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.”
“This is an unprecedented crisis facing the United States. Making this support program available to farmers, who especially now are so critical to our nation, is essential and must occur immediately to avoid more losses and insecurity in our food supply,” said NPC CEO Kam Quarles
The full letter is available here.
For more information on SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, visit covid19relief.sba.gov/#/.
The National Potato Council represents the interests of U.S. potato growers on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental and trade issues. The value of U.S. potato production is over $3.7 billion annually and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly.