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Economist: Farmers must act now to participate in SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program

An agricultural economist says farmers need to act immediately if they want to take part in the Payroll Protection Program under the CARES Act.

Joy Kirkpatrick with the University of Wisconsin Extension and the Dairy Profitability Center says, “They need to call their lender. If they can’t get a hold of them today, first thing Monday morning, you need to call in and ask that question and start getting that application.”

Kirkpatrick tells Brownfield the 349-billion-dollar emergency program through the Small Business Administration might seem well-funded, but it’s running out fast. “There are a lot of small businesses out there that are putting out, that are thinking about making that application, and the money is first come-first serve.”

Kirkpatrick says farmers and other small businesses are eligible for up to 10 million dollars in forgivable loans to help cover payroll and certain non-payroll expenses like utilities, rent, and mortgage expenses, but 75% of the dollars must cover payroll.

She says applications must begin by reaching out to lenders. “You really need to reach out to your lender or lenders to see if that lender has a relationship with the Small Business Administration because if they don’t, they’re going to have to establish that.”

Kirkpatrick says applications cannot go directly through the Small Business Administration.  Employers can only calculate payroll for W2 employees with a principal address in the United States, most benefits including healthcare, and state or local taxes on payroll.

The Paycheck Protection Program was announced earlier this week, but the House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson did have concerns about farmer eligibility prior to the SBA releasing its final rule late Thursday.

Joy Kirkpatrick with the University of Wisconsin Extension and Center for Dairy Profitability discusses SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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