The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined 30 agriculture organizations yesterday in urging the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure agricultural business can participate in the economic disaster loan program included in the CARES Act, according to a council release.
This week the SBA posted information on its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program website that says applicants do not qualify for loans if they are an agricultural enterprise (e.g. farm). However, the CARES Act, signed into law last month, does not specifically exclude agriculture from this program, the release states. Congress intended for all business fewer than 500 employees to participate, NPPC and the agriculture organizations emphasized to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.
"Agricultural producers and businesses are critical elements of this nation's economy and food system. Prior to COVID-19, farmers and ranchers had already experienced a drastic 24-percent decline in net farm income from highs experienced just six years ago. With the further downturn in the economy, agricultural businesses are at risk of closure and may be required to lay off employees," the letter stated. "Many agricultural producers need access to this critical source of financing to help preserve their businesses and avoid further disruptions to our economy and food systems," the letter added.
"As part of the critical U.S. food supply infrastructure, U.S. pork producers are committed to keeping Americans and consumers around the world supplied with nutritious protein. To ensure a continued and uninterrupted supply of pork to America's kitchens, hog farmers must have access to necessary resources, including this vital economic disaster loan program," said NPPC President Howard "A.V." Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. "We urge SBA to implement this program as intended by Congress, allowing pork producers to participate and remain committed to keeping consumers supplied with nutritious protein," he added.
Read the full letter here.
Learn more about U.S. pork producer efforts to ensure an uninterrupted supply of pork by visiting: http://nppc.org/issues/issue/your-food-is-our-priority/