Congressman Harder Successfully Includes Farmers in Corona Virus Disaster Emergency Grants Program
After leading a bipartisan effort alongside over 80 of his colleagues, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) announced that farmers are now explicitly qualified to receive emergency aid assistance under the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. This is due to the Corona Virus disaster. This change will allow farmers to access up to $10,000 in grants and $2 million in super low-interest loans.
“Farmers all over the Valley are losing contracts and worrying about their financial future – we all have to eat so this is something everyone should care about no matter their political party,” said Rep. Harder. “Some bean-counting bureaucrat decided farmers should be kept out of this program – but we fought back and won. I look forward to working with our farmers to make sure they get this vital funding.”
“Given the essential role family farms and ranches fulfill in maintaining food supplies, it makes sense to give them as many options as possible for sustaining their businesses during this highly uncertain time,” said California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson. “We appreciate inclusion of agricultural enterprises in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and will work to make sure our members have the information they need to participate.”
“Yesterday’s changes to PPP and the EIDL program are critical steps for removing the obstacles dairy producers and other farmers face when trying to access COVID-19 small-business support,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation. “We are especially pleased that Congress made clear that farmers are eligible for disaster loans through the EIDL program, and thank Congressman Harder for leading a bipartisan effort to secure these changes. We look forward to continuing to work with him to provide California’s Central Valley dairy farmers the support they need during the pandemic and beyond.”
Rep. Harder’s office was contacted by dozens of farmers concerned about their financial futures after many lost contracts to supply schools and restaurants. In response to these concerns and an unnecessary bureaucratic decision to exclude farmers, Rep. Harder led the effort to ensure they’re included.
The CARES Act expanded the EIDL program to enable small businesses – including farmers – to access immediate, emergency grants. Following the bill’s passage, SBA issued guidance making small farm operations eligible for assistance through its Paycheck Protection Program but excluded them from EIDL loan or grant eligibility.
With Corona Virus, Farms Stay Strong As People Must Eat
By Tim Hammerich with AgInfo.net
How should agricultural producers be preparing for a slowdown in the global economy, due to the Corona Virus? That’s the question many are asking. UC Davis Economist Dr. Daniel Sumner has a simple reminder: people still need to eat.
“Don’t forget, agriculture is hardly ever cyclical with the rest of the economy. There are booms in the economy when agriculture is struggling, like last year or the year before,” said Sumner. “There are times when the rest of the economy is not doing well and agriculture is doing okay. And even within agriculture, there are times when the dairy industry and the almond industry aren’t necessarily in sync, to pick the two biggest commodities in California.”
People still eat. People still spend money on food even as incomes fall.”A good bit of what we produce, even in California agriculture is pretty basic products for people. And if they’re stuck at home, they’re buying more of it, not less of it. So we’re going to have some gains here in California agriculture, even if the rest of the economy’s not doing well,” Sumner said.
Sumner adds that animal agriculture supplies have been hit especially hard with issues such as African Swine Fever before coronavirus. This may add to potential agricultural gains even in the midst of a slowdown or even a potential recession in the economy.
Wine Purchasing Habits Might Change Because of Corona Virus
By Tim Hammerich with AgInfo.net
How will food supply and demand change as a result of the Corona virus? Consumers in uncertain economic times will adjust their purchasing habits, even for essentials like food. This according to UC Davis Economist Dr. Daniel Sumner, who says different agricultural products will be effected in different ways.
“You do have to think about it commodity by commodity. Which ones are most sensitive to income. Which ones aren’t,” noted Sumner.
“Let me just give you a quick example from the wine industry. The premium wine industry here in California, which means the grapes that are grown along the coast. Higher proportion is sold in restaurants. Higher proportion is income sensitive. And people that still want to drink wine, they now drink it at home,” explained Sumner.
“They’re a little worried about their job. They say, ‘gee am I going to get laid off?’ whatever. ‘My company’s not making any money’. ‘I don’t get my bonus’, whatever.,” said Sumner. “They move down and move in the direction of Central Valley wines. So you could have the Central Valley wine industry be better off at the same time, the coastal wine industry is hurt. And we saw that in a recession 10 years ago,” Sumner said.
Dr. Sumner says staple goods are more likely to see strong demand while those perceived as luxury items may struggle. This is especially true for products that are sold through restaurant or food service channels.