IFB president: Apply for funding now

By Ashley Rice

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives both overwhelmingly passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Health Care Enhancement Act, with President Donald Trump expected to sign the act immediately.

The bill includes $320 billion in replenishment funding for PPP and provides additional funding for hospitals and rural health clinics. It also expands eligibility for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

“Illinois Farm Bureau welcomes the swift action by the House and Senate to pass additional funding,” said Richard Guebert Jr., IFB president. “This significant package of $484 billion will help Illinois farmers and small businesses stay on their feet as they face increasingly dire economic challenges.”

The EIDL program is receiving $60 billion in additional funds. Eligibility is now expanded to include agricultural enterprises with 500 or fewer employees.

Producers are encouraged talk to their lender and apply for PPP or EIDL funding as soon as possible, as funds will not last long. For example, the first round of PPP funding, expected to run through June 30, was depleted after 14 days.

“We urge our members to visit the SBA website, dependent upon their particular situation, to fill out an EIDL application for assistance because this additional funding will be available on a first-come-first-served basis and will be distributed quickly,” Guebert noted.

American Farm Bureau Federation is working with Congress to improve the PPP for agricultural producers. During the first phase of PPP funding, the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector had the lowest average loan approval.

The bill also reserves a set-aside of $60 billion for the PPP for Insured Depository Institutions, Credit Unions and Community Financial Institutions. However, this does not include the Farm Credit System.

Funding for hospitals and COVID-19 testing includes $100 billion. Specifically, rural health clinics will receive $225 million of those funds.

This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.