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April 22, 2020 - 12:45pm

Schumer: 'It’s time for New York farmers to recover, regrow, and harvest revenue!'

From Senator Charles E. Schumer:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed that as part of his negotiation priorities for the interim emergency bill that passed the Senate yesterday, he has ensured that agricultural enterprises will be added as an eligible recipient for grants of up to $10,000 and low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

This assistance can help cover business expenses, including payroll and other operating expenses.

Schumer has relentlessly advocated for New York’s farms during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, securing more than $9.5 billion in emergency funding in last month’s CARES ACT for the agricultural sector suffering massive financial losses due to reduced demands and supply chain disruptions, and calling on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately release aid to hardest-hit agricultural businesses, 

“Making our hardworking Upstate farmers eligible for this vital federal emergency grant-and-aid program was a huge priority for me and I am proud to have secured them this much-needed and well-deserved access to a program that could be a lifeline in these very difficult times,” Senator Schumer said. “I fought hard because just like any other small business in New York, access to this funding could be a vital lifeline for our farmers during this time of crisis.

"In good times, New York farmers are some of the best in the world and work long hours on tight margins, but in the midst of a global pandemic, they are losing revenue streams, suffering huge financial losses and being forced to discard their products. They need all the help we can offer – and they need it now.”

About 23 percent of New York State’s land area, or almost 7 million acres, is farmland, and with more than 33,000 farms across the state and nearly 700 farmer’s markets, New York’s agricultural sector is one of the hardest-hit industries in the nation. Additionally, 96 percent of farms in the state are family-owned.

Since the March passage of the CARES Act, there has been demand from the agricultural community for the SBA to include agricultural enterprises to the EIDL program. With this fix to the EIDL program, farms and other agricultural enterprises under 500 employees will be eligible to apply for SBA grant and loan disaster assistance.

Schumer added, “the bill originally pushed by Senate Republicans had absolutely no fix for our farmers, nor did it have any money for the entire Emergency Injury Disaster Grant and Loan Program. But we stopped that bill so we could make vital improvements, like making sure our farmers had full access to all key forms of federal aid to get through the tough times.”

Here are the facts:

  • Farmers and other agricultural enterprises are now eligible for the EIDL program.

o   The bill passed in the Senate yesterday adds agricultural enterprises under 500 employees as an eligible recipient for grants of up to $10,000 and low-interest loans through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

o   There has been a demand from the agricultural community for SBA to change its rules so agricultural enterprises would be eligible for the SBA’s EIDL loans and the new EILD grant program, but no such rule change has happened.

o   The interim emergency bill proposed by Democrats called for this key fix to support the nation’s farmers, which would not have happened under the original proposal that would have solely increased in funding for PPP. 

Here's a breakdown of the number of farms in each region of New York:

Region

# of Farms (2017)

Western NY

3,814

Finger Lakes

5,945

Southern Tier

7,028

Central NY

7,537

Capital Region

6,240

Hudson Valley

2,246

NYC

36

Long Island

592

Total

33,438

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