The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to help struggling small businesses keep employees on their payrolls as they recover from the impact of COVID-19. RJ Karney, Director of Congressional Relations with the American Farm Bureau Federation, talked about why the Paycheck Protection Program is important for farmers.

"Even as the economy gradually begins to reopen, farmers and ranchers continue to encounter enormous volatility within the markets," Karney said. "The supply chains are rapidly reacting to the impact of the pandemic, and the Paycheck Protection Program is a guaranteed loan program which includes $670 billion for small businesses. This includes agricultural enterprises, to keep their employees on payroll."

Karney said the PPP is benefitting some farmers and ranchers, as long as they were able to get a loan from the program. He says PPP needs to reach a lot more farmers and ranchers to benefit agriculture.

"According to the SBA data, a meager 1.5 percent of approved funding has gone to the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting sectors combined," Karney said. "Farm Bureau is working with Congress and the administration on changes that will allow more farmers and ranchers to participate in the program, especially since $130 billion remains in the program."

The deadline to apply for paycheck protection was June 30, but Congress extended the application window into early August. Karney says producers interested in the program need to take advantage of the extra time to get the paperwork done.

"Congress recently extended the application period for the PPP until August 8th of 2020, and the bill still needs to get the president’s signature," Karney said. "However, this extension allows farmers and ranchers additional time to consult with their accountants, tax preparers, and financial advisors about the PPP application, to ensure all the proper documentation has been completed and reviewed before meeting with their lenders."