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Small Business Administration Clarifies that Paycheck Protection Program is Open to Farmers, Following Written Correspondence from Rep. Courtney

April 25, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Last night, the U.S. Treasury Department and the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) issued new guidance clarifying that farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers are eligible to receive funding through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as long as they meet certain requirements. The new guidance comes following Rep. Courtney’s written correspondence to the SBA on Wednesday requesting immediate additional clarification to ensure that self-employed agricultural workers are eligible for the PPP, which was authorized as part of the bipartisan CARES Act. Rep. Courtney’s letter was co-signed by the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation, who had all received feedback from Connecticut Agricultural Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt and the Connecticut Farm Bureau that the lack of clear guidance related to self-employed agricultural workers has created inconsistencies with eligibility determinations for the PPP from different lending institutions.

“Many of our farming families in eastern Connecticut operate like small businesses – they’re getting hard during this pandemic, just like many other small employers, and they need access to cash flow immediately,” said Congressman Courtney. “The CARES Act was originally written to provide assistance to our farmers, and this new clarification couldn’t have come soon enough, especially now that our bipartisan bill to resupply the PPP with another $310 billion has been signed into law. With planting season and farmer’s market season upon us, these new dollars – as well as the new assistance available to farmers through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program – are more important than ever. I’m glad the SBA turned our request around quickly this week, and as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Dairy Caucus I’ll keep pressing for more resources for our eastern Connecticut farmers.”

The new guidance from the Treasury Department and SBA states that agricultural producers, farmers, ranchers, and other forms of cooperatives are eligible for small business rescue loans as long as they meet certain requirements. For more information on qualifications outlined in the new guidance, click here.

On Thursday, Rep. Courtney voted to pass the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266), otherwise known as the Interim Emergency Coronavirus Relief Package. The bill authorized a new round of $310 billion in funding for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, and an additional $60 billion in loans and grants for the SBA’s EIDL program, both of which were quickly exhausted following passage of the CARES Act on March 27. In addition to new funding, the legislation explicitly expanded EIDL program eligibility to farmers, who were left out of the first round of funding. Earlier this month, Rep. Courtney had urged SBA to expand eligibility under their existing authority.