Following Delgado Push, SBA Opens EIDL Application Portal for Farmers

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From the office of Representative Antonio Delgado:

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced they have opened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Advance application portal for small agricultural enterprises.

On April 23, Congress passed emergency legislation to provide funding to replenish SBA programs, support hospitals, and increase COVID-19 testing capacity. This legislation also explicitly made farms and agricultural operations eligible for SBA’s EIDL program. Rep. Delgado led a letter with 86 bipartisan members urging the SBA to follow Congressional intent and include small farmers in the EIDL program following the initial passage of the CARES Act.  On Monday, April 28, the SBA announced they would not take new applications for the program until they understand how many loans are in the current application system. Following this announcement, Rep. Delgado urged the SBA to reverse this decision and wrote another bipartisan letter to the SBA urging they ensure farmers and other small agricultural enterprises could receive these funds.

“Today, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is taking a long overdue step to open the EIDL Advance/Loan portal for small farmers and other agricultural enterprises. While I am disappointed that small farmers were excluded from the first round of EIDL funding, I’m pleased that after leading my colleagues in calling for this change, the SBA will give our agricultural businesses the opportunity to apply for these needed funds. I urge the SBA to approve these applications as soon as possible to get relief into the hands of our local producers,” said Rep. Antonio Delgado, member of the House Agriculture Committee. 

“While farms and other agribusinesses are considered essential businesses, overwhelmingly here in the Hudson Valley they are small businesses. They have truly stepped up during this crisis facing the double challenges of keeping food production flowing at a critical time for the regional food system, while at the same time trying to keep their businesses afloat. It is a positive step that this SBA funding is now being opened to ensure that farmers and other small agricultural enterprises could receive the important support they need – allowing them to further serve their communities,” said Todd Erling, Executive Director, Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation.

Rep. Delgado led a follow-up bipartisan letter with 78 colleagues urging SBA to ensure farmers and other small agricultural enterprises could receive these important funds. Signers include Josh Harder, Anthony Brindisi, Marcy Kaptur, Angie Craig, Andy Kim, Juan Vargas, Stacey E. Plaskett, Elise Stefanik, Ann Mclane Kuster, Peter A. DeFazio, John Garamendi, Tim Ryan, Chellie Pingree, John B. Larson, Vicente Gonzalez, Jared Huffman, Denver Riggleman, J. Luis Correa, Jahana Hayes, Ed Case, Tom O’Halleran, Brian Fitzpatrick, Jim Costa, Tom Reed, Ro Khanna, Paul Tonko, Mike Gallagher, Peter Welch, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Darren Soto, Abigail D. Spanberger, Xochitl Torres Small, Ron Kind, Cheri Bustos, Mike Thompson, James P. McGovern, TJ Cox, Greg Stanton, Tom Malinowski, Julia Brownley, Josh Gottheimer, G.K. Butterfield, Al Lawson, Glenn Grothman, Kendra S. Horn, Abby Finkenauer, Mark Pocan, Cindy Axne, Salud Carbajal, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Alcee Hastings, Chrissy Houlahan, Steven Horsford, Suzanne Bonamici, David Trone, Jimmy Panetta, Ami Bera, Marcia L. Fudge, Joe Courtney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Thomas R. Suozzi, Joe Neguse, Dan Kildee, Jennifer Wexton, David Price, Kim Schrier, M.D., Terri Sewell, Ben Ray Lujan, John Katko, Dave Loebsack, Collin C. Peterson, Earl Blumenauer, Jerry McNerney & Matt Cartwright.

Full text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Administrator Carranza:

We write to urge your immediate attention and swift action to ensure small farmers and other agricultural enterprises can access economic injury loans and emergency grants.

We were shocked and disappointed that, contrary to Congressional intent, the Small Business Administration singled out farmers and agricultural businesses as ineligible for the economic injury disaster loan and emergency grant program. On April 2, 2020, Reps. Delgado, Brindisi and Harder led 86 Members of Congress in sending a letter urging the SBA to follow congressional intent and include small farmers in the EIDL program as Congress intended under the CARES Act.

When SBA failed to make this change, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act and included an important provision that explicitly makes small farms and other agriculture operations eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants.

Despite this, we now learn from the SBA that it will not be taking new loan applications from farmers due to a long list of pending applications from other small businesses. In other words, our farmers are currently eligible for EIDL in theory only, which does not address the practical realities of hardship so many of our local producers are facing day in and day out.  We must ensure our farmers left out of the first round of funding have a real chance of accessing this critical support in the second round. This decision by the SBA is once again not consistent with Congress’ intent to include small farms in this program.

We ask you to share a detailed plan of how you will address these concerns and how SBA plans to process new EIDL applications. We also ask for detailed information on the current number and amount of EIDL applications pending and how much of the newly provided EIDL funding is estimated be available after the SBA has processed all existing loan applications.

Thank you, Administrator Carranza, for your attention to this critical matter, and for SBA’s work to address the economic impacts of this pandemic. SBA’s swift action on this issue will help alleviate the concerns of our nation’s family farms, which are vital to our country and our communities.

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