La Crosse, WI— Today, Rep. Ron Kind (WI-03) and Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), and John Joyce, M.D. (PA-13) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for farmers and ranchers. The PPP was created by Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in order to assist small businesses keep employees on payroll and cover other business-related expenses, helping them weather the economic damages caused by COVID-19.
Currently, many farmers are being deemed ineligible for PPP loans due to reporting negative net incomes to the IRS as a result of low commodity prices and wet planting seasons in recent years. This legislative fix would allow producers filing a Schedule F to use their gross 2019 income (up to $100,000) when calculating their PPP loan rather than net income, expanding eligibility to more farmers and ranchers.
“Our farmers and agricultural producers are the heart of our rural communities and economies in Wisconsin. Although the PPP is working for many farmers, some have been left behind,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “These hardworking producers should not be shut out of the PPP as a result of financial losses caused by weather conditions and low commodity prices. Throughout this crisis, our family farmers have shown resilience and dedication, and this bipartisan legislation will help ensure full access to the relief they need.”
“Family farms and essential farm workers across the country have been working around the clock through the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the continuity of the food supply chain, yet many have been determined ineligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. We owe these folks a great deal of gratitude and the Paycheck Protection for Producers Act will allow these producers to be on even footing with every other American small business,” said Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson.
“Our family farms are hurting, but still doing everything they can to put food on our shelves and milk in our fridges—it is time Congress does everything it can to help them. I am working with Democrats and Republicans to introduce the Paycheck Protection for Producers Act to expand the Paycheck Protection Program to help more family farms. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and I am fighting to make sure Washington gives our farmers the resources they need to get through this crisis,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi.
“Pennsylvania’s farmers are the backbone of our economy and the heart of our community,” said Rep. John Joyce, M.D. “During this unprecedented economic crisis, our farmers continue their daily work to provide healthy and safe food for Americans’ tables. They are truly essential, and it’s critical that our farmers get the help they need to weather this storm. The Paycheck Protection for Producers Act will improve the agriculture community’s accessibility to the Paycheck Protection Program, providing a lifeline for these hardworking Americans and supporting families.”
“Wisconsin Farm Bureau appreciates the work of Congressman Ron Kind and other bipartisan supporters who are looking for ways to help our hardworking farm families,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Joe Bragger. “The PPP has been beneficial to Wisconsin farmers, but this additional flexibility will allow the program to work for more farmers. Our farmers have been hit hard by challenges related to COVID-19 making financial assistance necessary to support the future of our rural communities.”
“WFU applauds Rep. Kind for introducing the Payroll Protection for Producers Act. This bill will ease the process for farmers applying for needed payroll assistance, while ensuring payroll security for farmworkers,” said Darin Von Ruden, President of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
“While the Paycheck Protection Program is providing vital assistance to farmers and ranchers who were able to receive loans, many self-employed farmers have been unable to participate, putting the future of their family farms at risk” said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Farm Bureau supports this bill and thanks Congressmen Kind, Thompson, Joyce and Brindisi for their leadership in offering a solution that will get help to more farmers and ranchers, and ensure they are able to continue stocking America’s pantry.”
“We have been working nonstop since the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure dairy farmers receive the small business support Congress intended for them – and that includes equal access to PPP loans for our sole proprietor producers. NMPF thanks Congressmen Kind, Thompson, Brindisi, and Joyce for their bipartisan Paycheck Protection for Producers Act, part of their continued leadership in making it certain that farmers across the country can receive PPP support,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation.
In April, Rep. Ron Kind led a bipartisan letter urging the SBA to provide more flexibility and alternate eligibility requirements for farmers unable to enroll in the PPP. Additionally, he released his Family Farm Rescue Plan, which focused on five concrete steps that the Administration could take to support family farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including ensuring farmers are eligible for all small business relief programs like the PPP. He also called for using Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds to directly support family farms, purchasing excess food supply and delivering food banks, reopening the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, and ending the Trade War and implementing USMCA.