Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the largest U.S. dairy-farmer organization, issued the following statement in anticipation of the U.S. House of Representatives passing H.R. 266, which would replenish funding for Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs in the CARES Act:
“We appreciate Congress’s bipartisan efforts to support our nation’s small businesses and workers both with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) included in the CARES Act. Dairy producers and other farmers have not had equitable access to these important programs due to how they were rolled out, and this legislation should help improve that access.
“To ensure that dairy producers can receive the support Congress clearly intended for them to receive as small businesses, NMPF has worked with allied stakeholders, members of Congress from both parties, and administration officials to make certain that PPP and EIDLs are properly administered. NMPF thanks our champions in Congress and their staff for everything they have done to address the disadvantages farmers have faced when trying to access this needed small business support.
“In addition to providing further funding for PPP and COVID-19 EIDLs, this bill changes these programs in ways that make treatment for dairy producers more equitable. NMPF is extremely pleased that Congress makes it clear in this bill that farmers with 500 or fewer employees should be able to access COVID-19 EIDLs, removing a significant obstacle that has prevented small business support from reaching America’s farmers. On the PPP side, we are hopeful that the measure’s provisions aimed at ensuring small lenders – including community banks and credit unions – have adequate access to PPP funds will make it easier for dairy producers and others in rural areas to apply for support.
“It’s important to note that issues remain with these programs, including challenges family farms and other sole proprietors face when trying to apply for a PPP loan. NMPF will continue efforts to address remaining problems so farmers are better enabled to fulfill their critical role in helping our nation throughout this pandemic.”
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk, making NMPF dairy’s voice on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.