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2020 Women in Ag Network Farm Tour

by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator
The Women in Ag Network hosted their first virtual farm tour featuring tours of CW Pork Farms with Wanda Patsche and Prarie PROducers with Nicole Johnson on July 29. The full recorded tour can be viewed on the Women in Ag Network's Facebook or viewed on the video below. 

Wanda Patsche, a hog farmer and author of Minnesota Farm Living, gave a tour of her farm in Welcome, Minnesota. She shared a video from her hog barn explaining how she and her husband Chuck care for, feed, and raise their wean-to-finish pigs. Wanda highlighted pork production in Minnesota, changes experienced in the industry from the 70s to today, and the current impacts of processing plant closure and the pandemic on hog producers. Wanda's advice to those who want to support Minnesota pig farmers,  Eat more pork! People aren't going to restaurants, people aren't ordering breakfast and that's hurting our demand right now. Anything you can do to buy more pork or eat…
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COVID-19 Response: EIDL Emergency Advance Funding Lapses

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency advance funding has lapsed. The $20 billion allocated for emergency grants of up to $10,000 per small businesses has run out of money in mid-July. An emergency advance was issued before an EIDL was processed, and unlike the loan, the emergency advance grant portion did not have to be repaid. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) national office, SBA paid out 72,623 emergency advances to Minnesotan small business totaling $251,712,000 across the state. While emergency advances are not currently available, EIDL continues to fund loans related to economic losses of COVID-19. An EIDL has relatively low rates and flexible terms. Due to new laws passed during COVID-19, agricultural businesses including farmers are eligible to apply for EIDLs for the first time. Previous to April 2020, this loan program was not available to agricultural businesses. For more information on EIDLs, please see the A…

Women in Ag Network - June/July Feature

by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator
While times remain unprecedented for farmers and livestock producers, the Women in Ag Network is continuing our featured women interview series. This month, we highlight a butcher who stepped up to help her community and livestock producers affected by processing plant closures. Lindsey Fulton, owner of Blondie's Butchers in Wanamingo, discusses how she started her business, manages stress, and has stepped up to help local producers throughout the processing plant closures.
WAGN: Tell us about Blondie's Butchers and your career.  I purposely went into this business. I had previously worked on a cattle ranch in Montana and we slaughtered on the ranch for employees. I was burnt out from the medical world, and my father asked if I wanted to come back to Minnesota and buy the for-sale butcher shop in town. I decided to jump in; if we failed, we could liquidate and wash our hands at the end of the day. When we bought the place 6 years ago, I had a …

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Revised Again, New Application Deadline 8/8/2020

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) roller coaster ride continues as Congress issued yet another update to the program over the July 4 holiday week. Based on old laws, PPP expired on June 30, 2020. But just before midnight on the 30th, Congress passed an extension called the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act, S. 4116. The president signed it into law on July 4, 2020. The new law extended the application deadline for PPP another five weeks to Saturday, August 8, 2020. Due to the last minute timeline, lenders and the Small Business Administration (SBA) had stopped taking applications for six days, but as of July 6 at 8 am CST, SBA resumed taking new PPP applications from lenders.
What does this mean for farmers and other small business owners? If you have not yet applied for PPP, now is the time. PPP loans fund 2.5 months worth of a small business's payroll expense and/or owner’s compensation. A business owner applies for PPP through a p…

COVID-19 Response: Minnesota Small Business Relief Grant applications open June 23 to July 2

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator

Minnesota Small Business Relief Grant applications are open from June 23 to July 2, 2020. MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) runs the $63.5 million program. Farmers (that operate for-profit) do qualify to apply for the $10,000 grants for small businesses that faced hardship due to COVID-19. On June 23, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Commissioners Office confirmed that farmers that operate their farm as a for-profit business and meet the other eligibility thresholds qualify; hobby and retirement farms do not qualify. A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will be used to select eligible businesses that will receive the $10,000 grant awards. Fifty percent of the funding will go to rural small businesses. Further allocations of the funding "include:

$18 million for businesses with six or fewer full-time employees
$10 million for minority business enterprises
$2.5 million for veteran-owned businesse…

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application: Self-Employed Farmer with Two Full-Time Employees

By Rob Holcomb and Megan Robert, Extension Educators, Agricultural Business Management
After the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, H.R. 7010, the Small Business Administration (SBA) created a simplified form to use when applying for PPP loan forgiveness.This new simplified form is SBA Form 3508EZ.SBA also published a new set of instructions for the Form 3508EZ.
PPP borrowers may use SBA Form 3508EZ if they meet the following criteria. are a single owner with no employees, ORdid not reduce any single employee’s wages by more than 25% and did not reduce overall number of employees or hours during the covered period (with the exception of safe harbor FTE reductions), ORdid not reduce any single employee’s wages by more than 25% and you were unable to operate at normal business levels during the covered period due to COVID-19. This blog post builds upon an earlier June 17 blog post from Megan Roberts titled “COVID-19 Response: PPP Forgivene…