WRIC (Nexstar): New legislation looks to get Paycheck Protection Program funds to more farmers

WRIC (NEXSTAR), BASIL JOHN

While the Paycheck Protection Program has helped thousands of businesses stay afloat, Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson says some farmers are still sinking.

“These farm families weren’t eligible to benefit from the tremendous support from the Paycheck Protection Program,” Thompson said.

Low sales and a difficult planting season contributed to these struggles. Thompson has introduced a federal bipartisan bill to change the rules of the program that previously kept farmers from qualifying for the loans.

“This bill will make the difference [for] whether many of these dairy farms will continue to exist,” Thompson said.

Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger says she’s heard about the same struggles from farmers in Virginia and thinks this is the right step forward.

“The challenges our farmers and producers are facing are not dissimilar to the challenges that other business owners are facing,” Spanberger said.

Some lawmakers and organizations worry these farmers will have to close their doors if they don’t receive these PPP funds.

“We’re just hearing a lot of uncertainty from our farmers,” National Milk Producers Federation Government Relations Director Claudia Larson said.

Larson says in the first round of PPP loans, less than 2 percent went to agriculture.

“Not being sure if they can feed themselves, feed their families, keep their operations going,” Larson said.

Thompson says Congress should pass this bill to help guarantee food security and keep American farms and farmers in business.

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