U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Ala., today called on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to include farmers and producers in new economic relief programs established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Farmers in Alabama and across the country have been shut out from accessing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds provided for them by the CARES Act due to IRS filing differences that separate them from other small businesses. The CARES Act did not exclude farmers and agribusinesses from being eligible for the Economic Industry Disaster Loan (EIDL) program; however, they have also been shut out from accessing that program at this time. Senator Jones is urging SBA to make necessary adjustments in guidance so farmers, producers, and businesses are explicitly included as Congress intended.
“I want to reiterate the concerns raised by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle about the vast impacts COVID-19 has had on farmers. Alabama’s farmers and producers have been particularly hit hard. My state is home to roughly 40,000 farms so it is essential that they have access to the new programs.” Senator Jones wrote in a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. “It is of upmost importance that farmers, producers, and agricultural businesses are provided this aid to ensure we have a stable food supply.”
Access to this aid comes at a critical time as farmers and producers wait for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue guidance on a $19 billion relief plan that was outlined Friday.
“Between drought, a hurricane and falling victim to trade wars, Alabama farmers struggled when our economy was booming. They simply cannot afford another financial hit like they are experiencing right now,” Senator Jones said.
Full text of the letter can be found below and .pdf can be found here.