Agricultural Producers Eligible For Paycheck Protection Program
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has allocated significant resources to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses survive and keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Traditionally, agricultural producers have not qualified for a majority of SBA programs. However, due to the diligent work of NCBA, the SBA eligibility criteria was broadened in the CARES ACT to include agriculture.
One SBA program that may be of interest to livestock producers is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that provides small businesses, those with less than 500 employees, with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits. Loans of up to $10 million will be made available to cover 2.5 times the average monthly cost of payroll, which is measured by payroll costs of the 12 months preceding the loan origination date, plus an additional 25% for non-payroll costs. This includes salaries; employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement; mortgage interest payments, but not prepayments or principal payments; rent; utilities; and interest payments on any other debt obligations that were incurred before February 15, 2020. At least 75% of the loan must be used for payroll costs.
PPP is retroactive to February 15, 2020, and loans will be available through June 30, 2020. The funds used during this eight-week period can be 100% forgiven, as long as this funding is used on approved expenses and employees are not terminated and wages are not reduced. While the program is open until the end of June, loans will be available on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, those wanting to apply should contact their lenders as soon as possible. The PPP borrower application can be found here.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic that is currently impacting the United States, including Kansas, Officials at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Agriculture are asking landowners and managers to voluntarily reduce the number of acres they plan to burn this spring. To support the recommendation, the Kansas Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are encouraging the delay of any scheduled prescribed burning of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. FSA and NRCS will assist landowners in choosing an alternative type of CRP management practice for the current year through a revised Conservation Plan of Operations. Applicable CRP contract producers will need to contact their local service center to initiate the change request, then complete the necessary paperwork, which can be done by mailing it in or through email. Contact information for local service centers can be found here.
If land managers insist on burning, it is critical that they consult the smoke modeling tool on www.ksfire.org. This tool indicates the level at which a burn would contribute to urban area air quality problems. Land managers should not burn if the area is predicted in the large (red) contribution range on the smoke modeling map.
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