Farm & Ranch - May 2020

MAY 2020 F11

FARM RANCH

THE NORTH PLATTE TELEGRAPH

USDA makes pandemic loans available

Ag secretary says more than $1B available to rural businesses

tural producers, the changes allow USDA to: » Provide 90% guarantees on B&I CARES Act Program loans. » Set the application and guarantee fee at 2% of the loan. » Accept appraisals com- pleted within two years of the loan application date. » Not require discounting of collateral for working capi- tal loans. » Extend the maximum term for working capital loans to 10 years. B&I CARES Act Program loans must be used as work- ing capital to prevent, prepare for or respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans may be used only to support rural businesses, including agricultural pro- ducers, that were in operation

on Feb. 15. USDA intends to consid- er applications in the order they are received. However, the Department may assign priority points to projects if the demand for funds exceeds availability. USDA announced the ex- panded B&I CARES Act Program authorities in a no- tice published in the May 21 Federal Register. Program funding expires Sept. 30, 2021. Eligible applicants may con- tact their local USDA Rural Development State Office in the state where the project is located. USDA is developing appli- cation guides for lenders and borrowers on the B&I CARES Act Program. The Agency also will host two webinars to provide an overview of pro- gram requirements.

To register for the we- binar at 3:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, visit globalmeet. webcasts.com/starthere. jsp?ei1322642&tp_key- 7a700acddd. To register for the we- binar at 2 p.m. ET June 3, visit globalmeetwe- binar.webcasts.com/ starthere.jsp?ei1324161&tp_ key6067315417. USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic op- portunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assis- tance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; com- munity facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit rd.usda.gov.

Telegraph staff reports WASHINGTON—Up to $1 billion in loan guarantees will be available to rural busi- neses and ag producers from the United States Department of Agriculture. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a press releaes this week that the funds are being issued to help rural business- es meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, ag- ricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may re- ceive funding under USDA Business & Industry CARES

Act Program provisions in- cluded in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural businesses and agricultural producers and being a strong support- er of all aspects of the rural economy,” Perdue said. “Ensuring more rural ag- ricultural producers are able to gain access to much- needed capital in these unprecedented times is a cornerstone of that commit- ment.” In addition to expanding eligibility to certain agricul-

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