USDA Stresses Ag Producers, Farmers and Ranchers Eligible for SBA’s PPP

  Congress passed the Corona Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This package appropriated $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP is a guaranteed loan program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The purpose of the program is to support small businesses and help support their payroll during the coronavirus situation. Q: Are agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)? A: Agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers with 500 or fewer employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States are eligible. Farms are eligible if: (i) the farm has 500 or fewer employees, OR (ii) it fit within the revenue-based sized standard, which is an average annual receipt of $1M. Additionally, farms can qualify for PPP if it meets SBA’s “alternative size standard.” The “alternative size standard” is currently: (1) a maximum net worth of the business not more than $15 million, AND (2) the average net income Federal income taxes of the business for the two full fiscal years before the date of the application be not more than $5 million.   Q: Are agricultural, and other forms of cooperatives eligible for PPP? A: As long as other eligibility requirements are met, small agricultural cooperatives may receive PPP loans. Other forms of cooperatives may be eligible provided they comply with all other Loan Program Requirements (as defined in 13 CFR 120.10).   Q: Do H-2A or H-2B workers on my payroll count towards my eligibility and total possible loan amount? A: Only employees with a principal place of residence in the U.S. count toward eligibility and calculation of the PPP loan amount.   Q: How do sole proprietor farmers provide accurate documentation regarding payroll, when they may not take a traditional salary? A: SBA requires sole proprietors, independent contractors, and other eligible self-employed individuals to provide documentation to its lender that the business was in operation as of February 15, 2020. This documentation may include payroll processor records, payroll tax filings, or Form 1099-MISC, or income and expenses from a sole proprietorship. For borrowers that do not have any such documentation, the borrower must provide other supporting documentation to its lender, such as bank records, sufficient to demonstrate the qualifying payroll amount.

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