Federal COVID-19 Programs Available to Farmers

US Capitol
Cares act
Below is an abbreviated breakdown of the CARES Act, aka the COVID-19 relief bill. This is by no means a comprehensive list of what the bill does, but it does highlight the important provisions which impact our growers.

Agricultural Assistance: Will There Be Another MFP?

  • $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which is used to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices through initiatives like the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
  • $9.5 billion to help specialty crop growers, farmers who support local food systems, dairy farmers, and livestock producers.
  • A temporary three-month extension on repayment of commodity marketing assistance loans, from nine months to a year.
  • What the payouts will be and how they will be paid out is still TBD and will be determined by USDA in the near future. 

Income for American Families

  • One-time tax rebate check.
  • $1,200 per individual, $2,400 per couple and $500 per eligible child.
  • They are reduced for higher income earners, starting at $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for married couples.
  • Phases out completely at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for married couples.
  • Expanded unemployment insurance to cover gig workers and self-employed and non-profit employees

Farmers Eligible for Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPPL) to Pay Employees 

The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has opened applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by section 1102 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or the Act). In that program, agriculture enterprises that employ 500 or less people whose principal place of residence is in the United States are eligible to apply, regardless of revenue levels.

  • Purpose is to assist small businesses to retain employees and maintain payroll. 
  • What is payroll? Work with your lender to determine how the following are eligible:
    • wages, tips, vacation/sick leave, and employer costs for health care premiums coverage and taxes. 
    • For self-employment: net earnings from self-employment or similar compensation 
  • Interest rate is 1%, term is two years and no collateral is needed. Applications are due June 30, 2020. 
  • This is a first-come, first-serve program. 
  • Check with your bank for an application. You may be ineligible for other benefits under the Act if applying for with a 2483 or 2484 application (but likely NOT the MFP). 

In a nutshell, the PPPL is designed to help small businesses keep their employees paid through this difficult period. The PPPL provides $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay employees and keep them on the payroll. These loans are open to most businesses under 500 employees, including non-profits, the self-employed, startups and cooperatives.

Please note that Landus Cooperative is sharing general requirements. You should consult with your financial adviser, tax accountant and/or counsel for your individual situation.