USDA Provides Payments of nearly $800 Million in Assistance to Help Keep Farmers Farming

Courtesy of NAA:

Immediate Help for Over 13,000 Distressed USDA Farm Loan Borrowers; Begins process to provide up to $500 million more for up to 23,000 additional borrowers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that distressed borrowers with qualifying USDA farm loans have already received nearly $800 million in assistance, as part of the $3.1 billion in assistance for distressed farm loan borrowers provided through Section 22006 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA directed USDA to expedite assistance to distressed borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) whose operations face financial risk.

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National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – Small Business Programs

USDA NIFA has now released the FY23 SBIR/STTR Phase 1 RFA.

The SBIR program supports US-based small businesses solving issues (with commercial potential) related to food and agriculture. This program has and continues to support an Aquaculture priority area (SBIR 8.7).

Here are the links to information and to the application package on grants.gov:

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs Phase I | National Institute of Food and Agriculture (usda.gov)

View Opportunity | GRANTS.GOV

Please share the RFA links with any interested parties and let any and all know that if they are interested in applying they can email me at timothy.sullivan@usda.gov and I will provide them with all requisite information.

Thanks in advance for your help in growing the USDA NIFA SBIR 8.7 program area priority!

Tim

Tim Sullivan, National Program Leader, Animal Health and Aquaculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

2022 Census of Agriculture

The 2022 Census of Agriculture is right around the corner and USDA NASS is making every effort to count all aquaculture producers in the United States.  

If you produce any aquaculture products and want to make sure that you are counted in the 2022 Census of Agriculture and the 2023 Census of Aquaculture, please sign up your operation using this online form:  2023 Census of Aquaculture.

Once you have signed up, you might receive a short survey in the next two years to further categorize your operation. But most likely, you will not receive a survey until the 2022 Census of Agriculture in January or February, 2023.

When signing up, please keep these items in mind to better understand how USDA NASS counts aquaculture production:

  • To be counted as an aquaculture farm, some form of intervention in the rearing process, such as seeding, stocking, feeding, or protection from predators, must be done by the producer. 
  • Aquaculture is defined as the farming of aquatic organisms, including baitfish, crustaceans, food fish, mollusks, ornamental fish, sport or game fish, algae and sea vegetables, and other aquaculture products. 
  • Fish, shellfish, and other aquatic products which are caught or harvested by the public from non-controlled waters or beds without any intervention, or input costs, are considered wild caught and are NOT included in the USDA NASS count of aquaculture farms.

Remember, participating in the 2022 Census of Agriculture and the 2023 Census of Aquaculture is Your Voice, Your Future, and Your Opportunity. To learn more about the Census of Agriculture and Aquaculture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

All information you provide will be held confidential under penalty of federal law.  There is NO sharing of individual farm financial data with other federal agencies other than the final compiled reports that are publicly available.  Since NASS surveys are conducted for statistical purposes only, individual reports are protected by law, even from other governmental agencies. Please read and share the NASS Confidentiality Pledge.

If you have any questions, contact Tony Dorn at tony.dorn@usda.gov or (202) 690-3223.

2021 Humboldt Bay Symposium: Sustainable Blue Economy

Symposium Overview

The 2021 Humboldt Bay Symposium will be webcast via Zoom on September 28-30. A long-standing local tradition, the Symposium is a community-oriented conference and provides a unique opportunity for the general public to engage directly with scientists, managers, and local experts. It is a forum for learning about the latest developments on a variety of current issues related to the Humboldt Bay region including research and restoration of coastal ecosystems, economic development, and sustainable use and recreation. 

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Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Extended to May 31, 2021

By California Aquaculture Association

As President Joe Biden signed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 into law on March 30, 2021, extending the Paycheck Protection Program an additional two months to May 31, 2021, and then providing an additional 30-day period for the SBA to process applications that are still pending, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said:

“President Biden sent another strong message to America’s more than 30 million small business owners negatively impacted by the pandemic: help is here. By signing the PPP Extension Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act into law, the President is providing additional critical relief to the smallest of the small businesses – the mom-and-pop shops that line our Main Streets and keep our local and regional economies going.

“The leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, working with leaders of the House Small Business Committee, Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez, and Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer, Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Young Kim, and Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Ben Cardin, and Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Susan Collins, ensured a strong bipartisan vote to extend this critical relief to hard-hit small businesses. More than 8.2 million PPP loans have provided struggling small businesses with the relief they need to keep workers employed and make ends meets during this pandemic. The SBA remains dedicated to reaching the heart and soul of the nation’s urban, rural, and low-income communities – the smallest businesses – and removing barriers to access this vital relief.” 

Learn more about PPP

US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), will accept new and modified Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), will accept new and modified CFAP 2 applications beginning April 5, 2021. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin providing additional financial assistance to farmers, ranchers, and producers impacted by COVID-19 market disruptions. Resources for these payments were approved by Congress in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The original application period for CFAP 2 was September 21 through December 11, 2020. USDA will reopen CFAP 2 signup for all eligible producers beginning April 5, 2021. A deadline for signup will be announced at a later date. Learn more at farmers.gov/cfap

Aquaculture Eligibility

Aquaculture eligible for CFAP 2 includes: any species of aquatic organisms grown as food for human consumption, fish raised as feed for fish that are consumed by humans, and ornamental fish propagated and reared in an aquatic medium. Eligible aquaculture species must be raised by a commercial operator and in water in a controlled environment. This includes molluscan shellfish and seaweed that was previously covered under the U.S. Department of Commerce program.

Eligible sales only include sales of raw commodities grown by the producer. The portion of sales derived from adding value to the commodity, such as processing and packaging, and from sales of products purchased for resale is not included in the payment calculation.

CFAP 2 payments are available for eligible producers of aquaculture commodities, which are categorized as sales commodities. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers of eligible commodities are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.

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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is Increasing the Lending Maximum Amount

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, 2021, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.

Businesses that receive a loan subject to the current limits do not need to submit a request for an increase at this time. SBA will reach out directly via email and provide more details about how businesses can request an increase closer to the April 6 implementation date. Any new loan applications and any loans in process when the new loan limits are implemented will automatically be considered for loans covering 24 months of economic injury up to a maximum of $500,000.

This new relief builds on SBA’s previous March 12, 2021 announcement that the agency would extend deferment periods for all disaster loans, including COVID-19 EIDLs, until 2022 to offer more time for businesses to build back. In order to shift all EIDL payments to 2022, SBA will extend the first payment due date for disaster loans made in 2020 to 24-months from the date of the note and to 18-months from the date of the note for all loans made in the calendar year 2021.

Questions about SBA COVID-19 EIDL and disaster loan payments can be emailed to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or directed to SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing).

Identified Gaps in Previous Aid, USDA Announces ‘Pandemic Assistance for Producers’ to Distribute Resources More Equitably

Press Release Release No. 0056.21

Contact: USDA Press
Email: press@usda.gov

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2021 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is establishing new programs and efforts to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions. The new initiative—USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers—will reach a broader set of producers than in previous COVID-19 aid programs. USDA is dedicating at least $6 billion toward the new programs. The Department will also develop rules for new programs that will put a greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop and organic producers, timber harvesters, as well as provide support for the food supply chain and producers of renewable fuel, among others. Existing programs like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will fall within the new initiative and, where statutory authority allows, will be refined to better address the needs of producers.

USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers was needed, said Vilsack, after a review of previous COVID-19 assistance programs targeting farmers identified a number of gaps and disparities in how assistance was distributed as well as inadequate outreach to underserved producers and smaller and medium operations.

“The pandemic affected all of agriculture, but many farmers did not benefit from previous rounds of pandemic-related assistance. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to helping as many producers as possible, as equitably as possible,” said Vilsack. “Our new USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative will help get financial assistance to a broader set of producers, including to socially disadvantaged communities, small and medium sized producers, and farmers and producers of less traditional crops.”

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Update: California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program

The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) are happy to announce there were over 300,000 applications successfully completed during Round 1 of the California Small Business Covid-19 Relief Grant Program.

Starting Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at 8:00 am PST Lendistry will open Round 2 for all small businesses and nonprofits to apply.

Round 1 applicants who did not receive funds DO NOT need to reapply. Your application was waitlisted and automatically rolled over for consideration in Round 2.

For new applicants in Round 2, please mark these dates and times on your calendar:

Round 2 opens Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 8:00 am PST
Round 2 closes on Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:00 pm PST
Notification about selection: February 11 – 18, 2021
Notification about Not selected: February 24, 2021

Before you apply: WATCH VIDEOS ON THE APPLICATION PROCESS To help you with the application process, Lendistry has prepared short videos that walk you through each step. To watch these videos, click here. We will continuously update this page with more videos in multiple languages.

REVIEW THE PROGRAM AND APPLICATION GUIDE The Program and Application Guide details the entire application process, step-by-step, and provides tips on how to improve your application experience. It also includes screenshots of the application and Portal to help you familiarize yourself with the process. To view the Program and Application Guide, click here.

DAILY WEBINARS Partners are conducting daily webinars that go over the program, application, and step-by-step instruction to complete the application. To view the calendar of daily webinars and access links, click here

PREPARE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS Review Section 8: Required Documents under “Program Overview” in the application guide for a list of required documents for the grant. The guide also provides tips and resources to help you properly scan your documents for upload. See Tip #3: Scan Your Documents Properly under “Tips for Applying”.

FIND AND APPLY THROUGH A PARTNER To apply for a grant, you will need to do so through a partner. You can find a partner by language or by county at www.CAReliefGrant.com. Please apply once and through one partner only.

Additional Application Tips: A partner to the program or the Lendistry team can help you navigate the process. Lendistry’s call center is available at 888.612.4370. Call Center times starting February 2nd are as follows:

7am – 11pm weekdays
8am – 12pm Saturdays
Last day until 8pm

For partner assistance, please contact the partner in which you started or submitted your application with.

You can find an application certification here for for-profits and here for non-profits.  

The application process is NOT first-come, first-serve. You have within the time frame listed above to apply.     

Small Business Administration (SBA) Re-Opening Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to Small Lenders Jan 15, 2021 and All Lenders Jan 19, 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, will re-open the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications on Friday, January 15, 2021 at 9 a.m. EST. The portal will fully open on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 to all participating PPP lenders to submit First and Second Draw loan applications to SBA.

Earlier in the week, SBA granted dedicated PPP access to Community Financial Institutions (CFIs) which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to reach underserved and minority small businesses.

On Friday, SBA will continue its emphasis on reaching smaller lenders and businesses by opening to approximately 5,000 more lenders, including community banks, credit unions, and farm credit institutions.  Moreover, the agency also plans to have dedicated service hours for these smaller lenders after the portal fully re-opens next week.

First Draw PPP Loans are for those borrowers who have not received a PPP loan before August 8, 2020.

Second Draw PPP Loans are for eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less, that previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will use or have used the full amount only for authorized uses, and that can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The maximum amount of a Second Draw PPP loan is $2 million. 

Updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and resources are available at www.sba.gov/ppp and www.treasury.gov/cares.