Farmers & Rural Communities
Senator Baldwin worked to pass the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help provide immediate support for Wisconsin farmers and our rural communities. This bipartisan response from Congress will help provide economic aid to our agriculture economy during extremely challenging times that have gotten tougher now with this pandemic. We are all in this together, and Senator Baldwin will continue her work across party lines to take additional steps to help our farmers and rural communities get through this public health crisis and the ongoing economic challenges we face.
- Resources for Wisconsin farmers and rural communities
- What relief is allocated for farmers and ranchers in the CARES Act?
- What does the CARES Act provide to assist small towns and rural communities?
- What is allocated for protections for consumers and our food supply in the CARES Act?
- What does the CARES Act provide to increase food access for families?
- For information on direct cash payments for Wisconsinites, please click here
- For information on direct payments to farmers and ranchers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), please visit: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap Applications will be accepted beginning Tuesday May 26, 2020
- For the latest information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and coronavirus, please visit: https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus
- For a comprehensive COVID-19 federal resource guide courtesy of USDA, please click here
- USDA’s Farm Service Agency is relaxing the loan-making process and adding flexibility for servicing direct and guaranteed loans to provide credit to producers in need. For more information, please visit: https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus
- For information on Rural Development loan payment assistance and application deadline extensions, please visit: https://www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus
- For more information on the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, please click here
Previously, the SBA’s size standards for farms were capped at low revenue thresholds, making many farms ineligible for SBA loan programs.
The SBA’s guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), released Thursday, April 2, 2020, sets the size eligibility for the program solely on the number of employees (500) and not revenue. Therefore, Wisconsin farms that may have exceeded the revenue thresholds for previous SBA programs (i.e. the dairy threshold was $1 million in annual revenue), are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program if they have less than 500 employees.
Note that the size of the PPP loan is based off the payroll costs and that foreign workers or independent contractors do not count towards that calculation. Farms that do not have a payroll may consider filing as an independent contractor or sole-proprietor and substitute net earnings from self-employment for payroll costs.
- For more information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), please visit: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
- Update: SBA will begin accepting new EIDL and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. The new eligibility is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Agricultural businesses includes those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).
- SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application.
- For more information on how Senator Baldwin took action to ensure the SBA's PPP and EIDL programs work for Wisconsin farmers, please click here
- For more information on Senator Baldwin's actions to support Wisconsin farmers and our food service industry, please click here
- $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund to help farmers who are experiencing financial losses from the coronavirus crisis, including targeted support for fruit and vegetable growers, dairy and livestock farmers, and local food producers, who have been shorted from receiving emergency assistance in the past.
- $14 billion to fund the Farm Bill’s farm safety net through the Commodity Credit Corporation.
- Eligibility for farmers and agricultural and rural businesses to receive up to $10 million in small business interruption loans from eligible lenders, including Farm Credit institutions, through the Small Business Administration. Repayment forgiveness will be provided for funds used for payroll, rent or mortgage, and utility bills.
- $3 million to increase capacity at the USDA Farm Service Agency to meet increased demand from farmers affected by the coronavirus crisis.
- $1 billion available in guaranteed loans to help rural businesses weather the economic downturn.
- $100 billion to hospitals, health care providers, and facilities, including those in rural areas.
- $25 million for telemedicine tools to help rural patients access medical care no matter where they live.
- $100 million for high speed internet expansion in small towns and rural communities.
- Over $70 million to help the U.S. Forest Service serve rural communities and reduce the spread of coronavirus through personal protective equipment for first responders and cleaning of facilities.
- $55 million for inspection and quarantine at our borders to protect against invasive pests and animal disease.
- $33 million for overtime and temporary food safety inspectors to protect America’s food supply at meat processing plants.
- $45 million to ensure quality produce and meat reaches grocery stores through increased support for the Agricultural Marketing Service.
- $1.5 million to expedite EPA approvals of disinfectants needed to control the spread of coronavirus.
- $15.8 billion to fund food assistance changes made in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This funding will help families facing challenges and will help keep our agricultural economy and food processing sector running. With so many people preparing meals at home, restaurants and food service businesses have slowed their orders to many Wisconsin food processors, and jobs are on the line. These changes will help get our high quality food processed and distributed to consumers as they manage through this public health crisis.
- $9 billion to fund child nutrition improvements made in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
- $450 million to provide food banks with additional resources for food and distribution.
- $100 million for food distribution in Tribal communities to provide facility improvements, equipment upgrades, and food purchases.
Additional Information and Resources
For general information and resources about coronavirus for Wisconsinites, please click here.
For information and resources about coronavirus for Wisconsin small businesses, please click here.
For a section by section summary of the bipartisan CARES Act, please click here.
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