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After hearing from Iowa farmers throughout the state, including recent phone calls with Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Soybean Association, and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is calling for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure Iowa’s farmers, producers, ranchers, and growers have access to the relief they need during COVID-19.

Specifically, Ernst – a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Small Business Committee – is requesting SBA to provide clarity on three issues Iowa farmers have raised with the senator:

  1. Ensuring Iowa’s farmers are able to access the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Ernst writes in part: “I have heard countless stories describing the urgency of this situation in the agricultural community. Most recently, I spoke with a farmer who told me he has been forced to dump milk from his cows because he has no place to sell it, preventing him from making any income. I urge you to allow farmers to be eligible to receive EIDL loans, as COVID-19 has negatively impacted an already struggling farm economy.
  2. Approving all community banks and farm credit lenders to administer the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. In the letter, Ernst writes: “I am still hearing of community banks and farm credit lenders across Iowa that have not yet been approved to administer loans, therefore preventing farmers from being able to access the PPP. The only source of capital for many family farmers is through the Farm Credit System or small banks in their rural communities. It is critical that these lenders be approved as soon as possible so that farmers and other small businesses can access these emergency funds.
  3. Clarifying that revenue size standards do not apply for farms that participate in the PPP. Ernst writes in part: “It is my understanding that agriculture enterprises that employ 500 or less people, whose principal place of residence is in the United States, are eligible irrespective of revenue levels. However, I continue to hear that there is uncertainty in the agriculture community about this matter. It is imperative that our agriculture community knows that this program is meant for them just like any other small business.”

To read Senator Ernst’s full letter to SBA, click here.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Ernst has made it a priority to continue listening to and hearing from Iowans across the state, including farmers and producers. Since helping secure critical provisions for Iowa agriculture in the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package, Ernst has called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide immediate assistance to cattle producers. In addition, Ernst urged USDA to get additional relief to the biofuels industry through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) – which was bolstered by the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package.

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Author: Press Release