Farm groups have been pushing for a broader definition of agriculture to apply to all new loans and grants in the event of economic disasters. The broader definition was included in the most recent relief bill, but there is no language in the law giving preference to agriculture. Congress replenished the loan fund with $ 50 billion and increased the grant amount from $ 10 billion to $ 20 billion.
SBA spokeswoman Carol R. Wilkerson said the agency was trying to address several priorities with its decision on economic damage money.
“At this time, only applications from farm businesses will be accepted due to limitations in the availability of funds and the unprecedented submission of applications already received,” Wilkerson said by email on Tuesday. “The SBA made this programming decision to provide the greatest relief in emergency funding to as many small businesses, private nonprofits and farm businesses as possible.”
Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza appeared to indicate in a statement on Monday that the agency was trying to be fair in dealing with agriculture by first processing applications submitted by previously ineligible farming businesses by the 15th. April. Applications from other industries submitted during the same period will be processed. after that in the order in which they arrived.
“For more than 30 years, the law has prohibited the SBA from providing disaster assistance to agricultural businesses; However, due to unprecedented legislation enacted by President Trump, American farmers, ranchers and other agricultural businesses will now have access to emergency working capital, ”Carranza said in the statement. “These long-term, low-interest loans will help maintain the viability of agricultural businesses while bringing stability to the country’s vitally important food supply chains.