FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - For the first time, Kentucky farmers are eligible for Small Business Administration loans to help keep operations going during the coronavirus pandemic.
Until passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act, known as CARES, farmers were excluded from SBA’s emergency loan programs.
The Paycheck Protection Program, which is one part of the CARES Act, is designed to help small businesses with 500 or fewer employees to retain and pay their workers, who must be U. S. citizens, during this difficult period.
It provides federally guaranteed loans of as much as $10 million to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits; as well other business expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. The loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
“I have always advocated for federal agencies and the public to see our 75,000 farm families as what they are: small businesses with employees,” said Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “I’m happy to report that the Small Business Administration recognized that fact during this unfortunate time, particularly for farmers that employ a number of workers. I would like to thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for negotiating the CARES Act and President Donald J. Trump for signing it.”
Farmers, other small businesses, and sole proprietorships can apply for assistance now through June 30. However, the SBA encourages interested parties to apply as quickly as possible because there is a funding cap.
Applications will be accepted through any approved SBA 7(a) lender. Kentuckians should consult local lenders as to whether or not they are participating.
For more information about PPP, including a sample application, go to www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp.
An existing SBA program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, or EIDL, provides up to $2 million in loans and up to $10,000 in loan advances to small businesses with 500 or fewer employees that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of the pandemic. While farmers are currently excluded from participating in the EIDL, other agriculture-related businesses including small farm cooperatives or aquaculture businesses are eligible.
To apply for the EIDL loan or loan advance, visit https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/.