Hayes, Delgado introduce new SBA-style loan program at USDA
Rep. Jahanna Hayes, D-Conn., and Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., on Monday introduced H.R. 8042, the Helping America’s Farmers Act, a bill that would set up an economic disaster injury loan program similar to the loan programs at the Small Business Administration.
The bill appears intended in particular to help the horticulture industry, but it was endorsed by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, Connecticut Greenhouse Growers Association, Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association, Dairy Farmers of America, National Milk Producers Federation, and the New York Farm Bureau.
“Connecticut’s agricultural industry is the backbone of our state’s economy, but our farmers are really hurting,” Hayes said in a news release.
“While farmers are currently eligible for Small Business Administration loans, the SBA is just not designed to adequately serve them. The Farm Service Agency is, and this new program will allow them to administer a loan program that gets our farmers the help they so desperately need.
“This bill would also inject much needed help into the FSA to allow them to hire and train more staff. I am grateful to Rep. Delgado, Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Hurlburt, Connecticut Farm Bureau President Tuller, and the rest of our endorsing organizations for their partnership on this bill.”
The bill would appropriate:
▪ $10 billion for direct loans through FSA;
▪ $10 billion for guaranteed loan program through FSA approved lenders; and
▪ $300 million for the administration of the program, as well as training of new staff.
Under the new loan program, applicants would also be eligible for a $20,000 grant upon application, and can seek forgiveness for their loan based on demonstrated economic hardship. Application priority would be given to farmers and ranchers located in the areas hit hardest by an economic disaster, as well as minority, veteran and women-owned operations.