Harder Successfully Includes Farmers in Coronavirus Disaster Emergency Grants Program
After leading a bipartisan effort alongside over 80 of his colleagues, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) announced that farmers are now explicitly qualified to receive emergency aid assistance under the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. This change will allow farmers to access up to $10,000 in grants and $2 million in super low-interest loans.
"Farmers all over the Valley are losing contracts and worrying about their financial future -- we all have to eat so this is something everyone should care about no matter their political party," said Rep. Harder. "Some bean-counting bureaucrat decided farmers should be kept out of this program -- but we fought back and won. I look forward to working with our farmers to make sure they get this vital funding."
"Given the essential role family farms and ranches fulfill in maintaining food supplies, it makes sense to give them as many options as possible for sustaining their businesses during this highly uncertain time," said California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson. "We appreciate inclusion of agricultural enterprises in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and will work to make sure our members have the information they need to participate."
"Yesterday's changes to PPP and the EIDL program are critical steps for removing the obstacles dairy producers and other farmers face when trying to access COVID-19 small-business support," said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation. "We are especially pleased that Congress made clear that farmers are eligible for disaster loans through the EIDL program, and thank Congressman Harder for leading a bipartisan effort to secure these changes. We look forward to continuing to work with him to provide California's Central Valley dairy farmers the support they need during the pandemic and beyond."
Rep. Harder's office was contacted by dozens of farmers concerned about their financial futures after many lost contracts to supply schools and restaurants. In response to these concerns and an unnecessary bureaucratic decision to exclude farmers, Rep. Harder led the effort to ensure they're included.
The CARES Act expanded the EIDL program to enable small businesses -- including farmers - to access immediate, emergency grants. Following the bill's passage, SBA issued guidance making small farm operations eligible for assistance through its Paycheck Protection Program but excluded them from EIDL loan or grant eligibility.