Recent Changes Make Loans More Favorable to Farmers
The deadline for a COVID-19 relief program that can be useful to many farmers is Tuesday, June 30, 2020.
The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is run by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Farmers who have not already applied may want to consider applying for PPP, in part because recent changes to the rules may make the program more appealing to farmers.
Under PPP, self-employed people, including farmers, can receive low-interest loans that may be forgiven. The loans are fully forgiven if the farmer spends at least 60% of the loan money on payroll costs (including wages and certain employee benefits) over the next 24 weeks. The remainder must be spent on rent, utilities, or mortgage interest payments in order to be fully forgiven. To the extent the PPP loan is not forgiven, the interest rate is 1% and the repayment period is five years. There are no collateral requirements. In other words, even if the PPP loan is not forgiven, the loan terms are more favorable than the terms of many farm loans.
One important barrier for farmers that hope to use PPP is that the farmer must show a net farm profit on a 2019 IRS Form 1040 Schedule F. If the farmer shows a net farm loss on the 2019 Schedule F, the farmer is not eligible for PPP.
In sum, for many farmers a PPP loan can be a good option, and the deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Farmers must apply through a lender. A copy of the PPP application, as well as a list of eligible lenders making PPP loans, can be found at this link on the SBA website.
To help farm families recover from the impacts of COVID-19, Farm Aid’s Farmer Resilience Initiative is:
- Investing in farmer-led solutions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Deploying emergency grants to family farmers and ranchers in need, particularly those producers that are less likely to receive federal and state disaster aid;
- Coordinating a national network of experts to create comprehensive resources for farmers;
- Offering support to farmers under stress through the 1-800-FARM-AID hotline and connecting farmers to the legal, financial and mental health support resources they need to recover;
- Supporting local, state and national farm organizations working on the ground to help farmers navigate this crisis; and
- Advocating for needed COVID recovery funds and resources from the federal government for short-term relief and long-term resilience.