April 24, 2020

Inside this issue
  Paycheck Protection Program  
  On Thursday afternoon Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act and the President announced he would sign the bill into law.

This bill expands farmer and rancher eligibility for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, provides additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and includes necessary funding for hospitals and rural health clinics.

The bill includes the following:
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Extends eligibility to agricultural enterprises that have 500 or fewer employees.
    • The definition of an "agricultural enterprise" mentioned above is a small business engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural-related industries.
    • It also provides an additional $60 billion for the EIDL program.
  • Paycheck Protection Program: Provides $320 billion for the PPP.
  • Small Lender Set-Aside: The bill creates a $60 billion set-aside for Insured Depository Institutions, Credit Unions, and Community Financial Institutions for the PPP, this does not include the Farm Credit System.
  • Health Care: The bill provides $100 billion for hospitals and for COVID testing.
    • $75 billion for hospitals and healthcare providers for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue.
    • $25 billion to expand capacity for COVID-19 tests.
    • $600 million of funding is earmarked for community health centers and $225 million for rural health clinics.
Farm Bureau continues to encourage farmers and ranchers to consult with their accountant, tax preparer and/or financial advisor about the PPP and EIDL application as it relates to their individual situation. This additional funding will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis and is anticipated to go quickly.

Final Note: Applying for this, or any other CARES Act assistance, will not impact your eligibility for farm programs.
 

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  CARES Act Food Purchases Update  
  The Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $450 million for USDA's Commodity Assistance Program. The funds provided to the Commodity Assistance Program are designated to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus through emergency food assistance programs.

The bill also allocates $15.8 billion to SNAP, which will help shore up the program through September 30, 2021. The added appropriation is needed to prepare for an increase in the number of people who may become eligible for benefits during the current crisis.

Using the funding and authorities provided under the CARES Act, USDA will partner with regional distributors to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. The purchases will total an estimated $100 million per month each for dairy products, meat products, and fresh fruits and vegetables. These purchases will then be provided in pre-approved food boxes to food banks, and community and faith-based organizations, as well as other non-profit organizations.

The food products available in the commodity boxes will vary depending on regional supply and demand. USDA officials have announced priority commodities will be fresh fruits and vegetables, pre-cooked poultry and pork, and fluid milk.

Due to increased unemployment claims, many Americans are likely to need additional assistance to feed their families during this global emergency. For farmers, this is an opportunity to help alleviate some of the backlog of products in the supply chain.
 

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The Iowa Farm Bureau Congressional Update is prepared by:
Daniel Heady, National Policy Advisor

5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266
www.iowafarmbureau.com
Contact National Policy Advisor:

Daniel Heady
dheady@ifbf.org
515-225-5572