Farmer eligibility for SBA loans still up in the air

House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson is confident the Small Business Administration will let farms participate in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The Minnesota Democrat says he’s been working with Ag Secretary Perdue to protect farmers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The Secretary told me on Tuesday he thought that the farmers would be able to get this Paycheck Protection loan or this EIDL loan, one or the other. But apparently it’s not completely fixed yet.”

That’s because of a rule that says SBA can’t provide EIDL loans to farmers.

“Traditionally, SBA has done businesses, USDA has done farmers. So there’s some question about whether they can make this available. The intention is to make it available to farmers. And I think at the end of the day, that is what will happen.”

If the rule needs to be modified, Peterson suggests it will take longer to finalize.  He says they might ask the Office of Management and Budget to look the other way to speed up the process.

More than 80 House members and a coalition of farm groups have written SBA, saying there’s clear statutory language under the CARES Act indicating ag businesses should be able to participate in the EIDL program.

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