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Stabenow, Roberts Urge SBA to Give COVID Relief to Farmers
Kansas Ag Connection - 04/06/2020

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, joined Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) to urge the Small Business Administration to ensure farmers and ranchers can access new loan programs created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. As the Small Business Administration has started to implement the CARES Act, there are concerns that the agency is excluding agricultural businesses that should be eligible.

"The impacts of COVID-19 are affecting many small businesses, including America's farmers," wrote the Senators to Jovita Carranza, administrator of the Small Business Administration. "We must take quick action to aid farmers at a time when we need a stable and reliable food supply. We urge you to ensure the new programs you are implementing include farmers, ranchers, rural businesses, and cooperatives."

The CARES Act created new and expanded eligibility for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to help small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. The Senators asked the Small Business Administration to immediately clarify and allow agricultural businesses and farms to apply for loans under this program.

The CARES Act also created the Paycheck Protection Program to help businesses keep their workforce employed. Because farmers and ranchers have different characteristics and unique attributes compared to traditional small businesses, the Senators will work to ensure farmers can access as much support under the CARES Act as possible. They also urged the Small Business Administration to work quickly to approve all eligible lenders for this program.

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