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Paycheck Protection Program extended again and USDA announces program updates

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator

Over the last week, several COVID-19 federal financial relief programs announced changes and updates.

First, Congress extended the deadline for qualifying small business owners to apply for the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Congress moved the application deadline from March 31 to May 31. Additionally, lenders now have an additional 30 days until June 30 for application processing. The president signed The PPP Extension Act of 2021 into law on March 30. Due to the extension being signed into law in such close proximity to the prior deadline, it is expected that gaps in local lenders servicing applications may occur. Approximately $73 billion in PPP funding remains unspent, according to most recent SBA data.

Next, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its latest iteration of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which is housed under a newly named initiative called Pandemic Assistance for Producers. For CFAP 1, CFAP 2, and CFAP Additional Assistance, some of the newly announced payments, e.g. to cattle producers under CFAP 1 and to eligible flat-rate and price trigger crop producers under CFAP 2, payments will be automatic without additional need for new application. Other programs require new application. For eligible producers that need to complete a new or modified application for CFAP 2, a sign-up period will open April 5 and last at least 60 days. For the latest CFAP details, visit farmers.gov/cfap. To find your local service center and learn more about how to access their services during the pandemic, visit farmers.gov/service-center-locatorTo read the complete and detailed USDA press release on the four-part Pandemic Assistance for Producers program, visit the USDA press site.

Lastly, the USDA also announced additional information gathering on the previously announced loan forgiveness program for qualifying USDA debt held by socially disadvantage farmers and ranchers. The payments were authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act passed earlier this March. The USDA's Farm Service Agency provided some additional details regarding the next steps for the debt relief program on the farmers.gov blog. More information is expected in coming months.


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