SC Commissioner Weathers: Funding Opportunities

As agriculture continues to be impacted by COVID-19, various methods of federal assistance have been introduced. Here to tell us more is SC Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers.

  • There are numerous opportunities through USDA and SBA for those in the ag industry to utilize funding provided through the $2 trillion CARES ACT aid package:
  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program:
    • Will provide $19 billion in direct payments and commodity purchases.
    • Provides direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted
    • Assists producers with additional costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.
  • USDA Farmers to Families Food Box:
    • USDA to purchase and distribute up to $3 billion of agricultural products to those in need.
    • AMS’s Commodity Procurement Program will procure an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products.
    • The distributors and wholesalers will provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
  • Both the SBA loan programs were very popular and ran out of money, but Congress has appropriated some more:
  • Paycheck Protection Program:
    • This funding is for businesses with no more than 500 employees or eligible according to existing SBA regulations.
    • If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program:
    • Available to businesses with no more than 500 employees
    • Includes emergency grants up to $10,000 to cover emergency expenses directly related to COVID-19, like paid sick leave, payroll, increased costs to supply the supply chain, and paying obligations that cannot be met due to lost revenue.

For more information regarding funding requirements, applications and COVID-19, please visit https://agriculture.sc.gov/coronavirus/ or https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus.