Farm Bureau seeks improvements to Paycheck Protection Program

The American Farm Bureau Federation seeks improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program in the next coronavirus relief package.

The Senate will return to session next week and much attention will be given to the next stimulus package, which will include revisiting the PPP.

AFBF’s Congressional Relations Director RJ Karney says that farmers and ranchers need changes to the program.

“The Paycheck Protection Program provided vital assistance to farmers and ranchers who were able to participate,” he said. “However, there are additional changes that Farm Bureau wants to see made that would significantly improve and make more farmers and ranchers eligible to participate in the program.”

In a letter to lawmakers, Farm Bureau mentioned two top priorities.

“The current rules of the Paycheck Protection Program state that if a farmer has a net loss in their previous year’s tax return, they are ineligible for the program. This is why Farm Bureau is supporting the Paycheck Protection and Producers Act,” Karney said. “This act would base eligibility for farmers and ranchers on gross receipts, as opposed to net farm income. Another barrier has been the uncertainty on whether or not farmers and ranchers can count their H-2A workers, current IRS guidelines are unclear.”

According to Karney, only 1.5 percent of the ag, forestry, fishing, and hunting sectors have received loans through the program.

“Farm Bureau believes this was the case of a slow rollout of farmers and ranchers being deemed eligible to participate...and other technical corrections that need to be addressed by Congress,” he said.