U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) sent a letter requesting that the Small Business Administration (SBA) issue updated guidance to allow farmers to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) co-signed the letter.

In the letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, the senators stressed that Congress intended for farmers to be included in the expanded group of business owners eligible for EIDL under the CARES Act.

“Among the provisions in the package, the CARES Act creates an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grant (EIDL) program,” the senators wrote. “While farms have not traditionally been eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans under the previous law, CARES creates new requirements for an EIDL program specific to COVID-19 for a limited time. This expansion of eligibility does not explicitly exclude farms and it is our understanding Congress intended farms to qualify should they meet the criteria for eligibility. We urge you to revise the guidance to allow these agricultural businesses to seek loans under the new COVID-19 EIDL.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Administrator Carranza,

We write today regarding the Small Business Administration’s implementation of the new loan programs in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). As we know, the impact of COVID-19 is affecting many small businesses, including farmers. Moreover, farmers across the country have faced many challenges in the past several years. The coronavirus pandemic is now causing additional disruptions, and some experts believe that the consequences of the pandemic will continue to heavily impact rural communities.

Among the provisions in the package, the CARES Act creates an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grant (EIDL) program. While farms have not traditionally been eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans under the previous law, CARES creates new requirements for an EIDL program specific to COVID-19 for a limited time. This expansion of eligibility does not explicitly exclude farms and it is our understanding Congress intended farms to qualify should they meet the criteria for eligibility. We urge you to revise the guidance to allow these agricultural businesses to seek loans under the new COVID-19 EIDL.

Arizona’s agriculture industry is essential to our economy, generating $23.3 billion to our state’s economy in 2018. Additionally, agriculture directly and indirectly supported more than 138,000 full and part-time jobs. Arizona is also proud to be the “Winter Salad Bowl” capitol for the US- providing over 90% of all leafy greens to the nation. Our produce, dairy, and beef help feed the nation. More than 20,000 farms— about 95% of them family operated—cover the entire state.

During such unprecedented times, we urge you to ensure that agricultural businesses and farmers are eligible for the EIDL program. Our nation’s farmers and small businesses have been on the front lines doing their jobs for the American people. Now more than ever, we must be looking out for these rural, small businesses that feed Americans.

Thank you for your continued work on behalf of American farmers. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

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