Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. applauds Congress and the Trump Administration for their rapid response to write and pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which begins to address the financial insecurity farmers and this nation face during these uncertain times. Read President Guebert's statement regarding the CARES Act.
The package provides a lot of flexibility for the USDA to develop programs to assist farmers. As Secretary Perdue looks to utilize these funds, he is communicating broadly with agricultural leaders from every state. We are conveying our members’ most pressing needs and discussing with neighboring states opportunities to support the renewable fuels market and livestock producers.
Agriculture program highlights are as follows:
- $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to a full $30 billion ahead of June 30, when it is typically done. CCC funding is flexible.
- $9.5 billion to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19 by providing support to impacted agricultural products, including specialty growers, producers who supply local food systems including farmers’ markets, and livestock producers including dairy farmers.
- Section 11003 – The Secretary may extend the terms of a marketing assistance loan for any loan commodity up to 12 months (authority expires 9/30/2020).
Small Business Administration:
- $10 billion is set aside for the Small Business Administration to administer programs. The SBA COVID-19 webpage details programs, eligibility requirements, and paperwork.
- Agricultural enterprises that employ 500 or fewer people whose principal place of residence is in the United States are eligible to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), regardless of revenue levels. The PPP loan can be fully forgiven if funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities (75% must be used for payroll to be fully forgiven. You can find that application here.
- The American Farm Bureau Federation reviewed the interim final rule for the PPP and has provided their analysis here: www.fb.org/market-intel/update-ag-and-pppl.
- (April 7, 2020) The U.S. Treasury has provided an FAQ on the Paycheck Protection Program, which you can find here.
- (April 7, 2020) USDA has provided an FAQ on ag eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program here.
- (April 9, 2020) The American Banker's Association has created a FAQ on the Paycheck Protection Program. Farmer provisions can be found on pgs 17-18.
Employee Tax Credit
The IRS has also made available an Employee Retention Tax Credit for those who pay family or medical leave for employees who are unable to work or telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, an employer may claim the leave tax credits and the CARES Act Employee Retention Credit — but not for the same wages paid. Members should review the tax credits available for midsize and small businesses for providing paid leave.
A helpful FAQ document on direct payments for U.S. Citizens from Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s office.