A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky farmers now eligible for small business loans to retain employees during pandemic


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky farmers are now eligible to benefit from a new program through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Until passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act, farmers were excluded from SBA’s emergency loan programs.

“Since taking office four years ago, I have always advocated for federal agencies and the public to see our 75,000 farm families as what they are: small businesses with employees,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles. “I’m happy to report that the Small Business Administration recognized that fact during this unfortunate time, particularly for farmers that employ a number of workers.

Ryan Quarles

“I would like to thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for negotiating the CARES Act and President Donald J. Trump for signing it.”

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the CARES Act, is designed to help small businesses with 500 or fewer employees (U.S. citizens only) to retain and pay their workers during this difficult period.

PPP provides federally guaranteed loans of up to $10 million to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits, as well other business expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. The loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

Farmers, other small businesses, and sole proprietorships can apply for assistance starting April 3 through June 30. The SBA encourages interested parties to apply as quickly as possible because there is a funding cap.

Applications will be accepted through any approved SBA 7(a) lender. Kentuckians should consult local lenders as to whether or not they are participating.

For more information about PPP, including a sample application, go to www.sba.gov.

An existing SBA program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), provides up to $2 million in loans and up to $10,000 in loan advances to small businesses with 500 or fewer employees that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of the pandemic. While farmers are currently excluded from participating in EIDL, other agriculture-related businesses including small farm cooperatives or aquaculture businesses are eligible.

To apply for the EIDL loan or loan advance, visit covid19relief.sba.gov.

For COVID-19 updates from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, please visit kyagr.com/covid19.

From Kentucky Department of Agriculture


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