Farms and other agricultural employers can start applying for grants and low-interest, long-term loans through the Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

SBA said Monday its EIDL portal will reopen Monday “as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act.” The legislation included $50 billion for the EIDL program and $10 billion for the EIDL Advance program.

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said SBA “has been prohibited by law from providing disaster assistance to agricultural businesses” for more than 30 years. However, “farmers, ranchers and other agricultural businesses will now have access to emergency working capital.”

The agency said it would begin accepting new EIDL applications “on a limited basis only, in order to provide unprecedented relief to U.S. agricultural businesses.”

Farm organizations had previously pushed for agriculture operations to be eligible to receive EIDL funds. In an April letter to SBA, the National Pork Producers Council argued Capitol Hill meant to include agriculture as an eligible industry in the CARES Act that was passed in March

"While agricultural enterprises had not previously been able to participate in the underlying EIDL program, there is every reason to believe Congress intended for agricultural producers to be able to participate during the COVID-19 emergency," the letter noted.

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Agribusinesses are eligible for grants of up to $10,000 under the EIDL Advance program and loans up to $2 million under the EIDL program.

For agribusinesses that already submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal before the latest legislation was signed April 24, “SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying,” the agency said. “All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.”

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