Financial Resources, Grants and Other Support to Build Resilience

Sharing grants, loans or legal support to help farmers build their own resilience through this pandemic.

Over the last few weeks, you have been asked to consider many new practices and strategies to build resilience of your farm in the face of COVID-19. You have probably had to learn some new skills, like setting up new online marketing strategies, developing new farmers market practices, sanitizing for prevention, or designing workspaces for physical distancing.

All of this takes time and money, and probably adds to the stress you are already feeling.

As an essential business critical to the health and wellbeing of our communities, we all need you to thrive despite this pandemic. It has been heartening to see so many organizations step up to support farmers in these uncertain times.

On Monday, we shared an important update on new federal funding available to small businesses, including farms, to ease some of the financial stresses related to COVID-19. We hope that you are reviewing this important information and considering if you want to apply. If you need help with this decision, you should connect with your local lender, your cooperative extension educator or a farm financial consultant. We have had numerous organizations hosting webinars to help us all understand how these programs are meant to work and how to apply.

There are many other organizations that are stepping up with grants, loans or legal support to help farmers build their own resilience through this pandemic.

We will continue to update our farm resilience resource page as new information becomes available.

CARES Act’s Emergency Resources for Farm Businesses

The recent CARES Act provided additional emergency funding through the Small Business Administration (SBA) for businesses who are facing losses due to COVID-19. If you are a farm business, the most important program to be aware of right now is the Paycheck Protection Loan Program to cover payroll costs, utilities, mortgage interest or rent. Farms that meet SBA small business thresholds are eligible to apply for this low interest, forgivable loan program. The maximum loan amount your business can receive is calculated as 2.5 x your monthly average payroll expense in 2019. PPP loans are first come first served, until funding is expended, and are applied for through your local lender. All loans need to be finalized by June 30. Learn more.

Watch these webinars for more details about these programs: 

Questions on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?

Nicole Tommell, Farm Business Management Specialist, and Myron Thurston, Ag Economic Development and Marketing Specialist, from CCE Madison offered up to date information on applying for the Paycheck Protection Program with potential loan forgiveness. They held a producer question and answer session. Learn more.

What the Tax and Payroll Provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act & CARES Act Mean for Your Business

This educational Farm Credit East webinar covered the payroll and tax provisions outlined in the newly passed Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Senior Tax Consultant, Dario Arezzo, reviewed some of the provisions outlined in FFCRA, including emergency leave and payroll tax credits. In addition, key tax provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act – including filing deadline changes, rebates, retirement accounts and more – were also covered. Learn more.

Paycheck Protection Program Basics and How Your Business May Qualify

A cornerstone provision of the CARES Act is the Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable loan program administered by the Small Business Administration, to provide loans to businesses impacted by the current state of the economy. Farm Credit East held two webinars on Monday, April 6, to help explain the basics of the program, what size loan you may qualify for and how this program could assist your ag businesses with near-term payroll expenses. Learn more.

Looking for other financial support and funding opportunities?

Small Business Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering an Economic Injury Disaster Loan to provide support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan advance funds (up to $10,000) will be made available within days of a successful application, and will not have to be repaid. Currently guidance indicates that these EIDL funds are not available to most farms. However, check back as we get more clarity on who is eligible. Learn more and apply.

American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund

To help directly support farmers impacted by the current crisis, AFT’s fund will award farmers cash grants up to $1,000 each to help them weather market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A full 100% of donations to the fund will go directly to farmers. Initially, eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. Learn more and apply by April 23.

F.A.R.M.S. Farmers Emergency Fund

The fund covers immediate emergency expenses related to the farm operation and daily necessities, with special preference to aging farmers in need. Fund requests are limited to $500 for payments of utility, medical, farm labour, equipment repair, or the purchase of seed. This assistance is for small farmers who operate less than 500 acres, have limited resources, and reside in the United States. Learn more and apply.

Food & Land Sovereignty Resource List for COVID-19

Soul Fire Farm, the Black Farmer Fund, and the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust have organized a collection of resources for COVID-19. They also have a Mutual Aid Survey if you either have resources to give or are looking for aid.

Farm Service Agency Relaxes Loan-Making Process

The FSA has extended deadlines, is preparing direct loan documents (even with closed government buildings and the inability to complete lien and record searches), and adding flexibilities for servicing direct and guaranteed loans to provide credit to producers in need. Learn more.

Food Law Initiative’s COVID-19 Legal Support Project

The Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative launched the COVID-19 Legal Support Project to provide pro bono legal services to new and existing clients affected by this crisis who cannot afford market-rate legal services. To qualify for pro bono legal representation, businesses must meet the Clinic’s income eligibility criteria. Learn more.

Kacey Deamer

Kacey is the Communications Manager for the Cornell Small Farms Program. In this role, she manages all storytelling and outreach across the program’s website, social media, e-newsletter, magazine and more. Kacey has worked in communications and journalism for more than a decade, with a primary focus on science and sustainability.