BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – The Small Business Administration announced Monday that agribusinesses can now apply for coronavirus disaster assistance.
For more than 30 years, laws barred the SBA from providing small farmers with disaster assistance, according to a statement made by SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. Now, the agency is reversing course.
Upon reopening its Economic Injury Disaster Loan application portal Monday, the SBA announced it would only accept applications on a limited basis to provide relief to agricultural businesses.
The change came after the SBA amended its rules to include farmers with less than 500 employees last month.
Congressman Antonio Delgado (NY-19), along with 86 members of Congress, urged the SBA to include small farmers in the EIDL program following the passage of the first CARES Act. However, once the SBA agreed to so, a long backlog in applications posed more barriers to farmers.
“Our farmers, who are now eligible for the economic injury disaster loan, had been told that while they’re eligible in name only, they’re not eligible in practice,” said Delgado, who is a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
The fourth and most recent coronavirus relief package, signed by President Donald Trump late last month, set aside $60 billion for the program. According to the SBA, loan advances of up to $10,000 will not have to be repaid.
Those interested can apply online via the SBA’s website.