New loans, grants now available to agribusiness

Published 1:58 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Agriculture producers and agribusinesses have a new avenue for financial assistance.

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, of Brookhaven — who serves on the Senate Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Agriculture Committee — reached out to agribusinesses Tuesday to encourage those suffering losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic to consider applying for assistance through the Small Business Administration.

The SBA announced Monday that agricultural businesses are now eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loan program assistance, previously unavailable to these types of businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act appropriated new funding for EIDL, and directed the SBA to extend eligibility to farmers, ranchers, aquaculture and other agricultural businesses.

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“We made it a point to make low-interest, long-term SBA loans available to agricultural producers, whose ability to survive the pandemic is critical,” Hyde-Smith said.

SBA can now issue grants of up to $10,000 and loans up to $2 million to eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees. The agency indicated it would begin processing applications previously submitted, as well.

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“This is a whole new avenue for our producers to access the capital they need to remain operational, to keep workers on the job and to produce the food we all depend on,” said Hyde-Smith.