April 21st Update: Just announced: Senate passes bill allowing small ag businesses relief through disaster loan eligibility.
Following a close analysis of the CARES Act and related statutes, K·Coe Isom’s Government and Public Affairs representatives, along with its Ag Association partners, are pleading with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to revise the SBA loan eligibility language to be inclusive of agricultural enterprises.
Agricultural enterprises include:
- those small business concerns engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural-related industries
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) signed on March 27, included funding for a wide range of programs designed to help respond to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in this 876-page bill is Section 1110 entitled “Emergency EIDL grants” for which Congress appropriated $10 billion. The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers the underlying EIDL program which issues loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and non-profits to assist with repair and rebuilding following disasters.
The underlying Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, under the Small Business Act section, authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make EIDL loans to small businesses. The CARES Act states that, from January 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020 “in addition to small business concerns, private nonprofit organizations, and small agricultural cooperatives, an eligible entity shall be eligible for a loan made under the Small Business Act.”
Why Ag Businesses Are Disaster Loan Eligible
“We are urging ag businesses and associations to contact the SBA and asking them to include agricultural enterprises as eligible for applying for emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans under the CARES Act where such loans will help stabilize their business during these difficult economic times,” says Brian Kuehl, Government and Federal Affairs lead for K·Coe Isom.
Kuehl adds, “Since the term “eligible entity” under the CARES Act includes “a business with not more 500 employees” and since Congress did not explicitly exclude agricultural businesses from this definition, we believe that agricultural businesses should be able to qualify for EIDL loans during 2020 to respond to the economic downturn caused by coronavirus notwithstanding the traditional exclusion of agricultural businesses from the EIDL program.”
The Small Business Act defines “small business” as “independently owned and operated” and one that meets size requirements established by the SBA including, for example, maximum gross receipts determined by NAICS code.
Since section 1110 of the CARES Act defines “eligible entity” without regard to such requirements and further indicates that businesses “in additional to small business concerns” may qualify for emergency EIDL loans, our stance is that agricultural businesses should be able to apply for emergency EIDL loans regardless of the gross receipts of the business, provided that the business has fewer than 500 employees.
Let your voice be heard – reach out to your representative in Congress: 202-224-3121.
Please continue to visit K·Coe’s COVID-19 Resources & Updates page for additional guidance and helpful resources – listen to a recorded Town Hall meeting on the CARES Act and SBA Loan update – or register our Town Hall virtual meetings designed to help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.