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COVID-19: Financial Relief/CARES Act

If My Business is Suffering, How Can I get Relief?

On April 17, 2020, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. CFAP provides financial assistance through direct payments to growers and producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. Among the eligible commodities are specialty crops. See below for more information.

  • Eligible specialty crop commodities:
    • Fruits: apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelons
    • Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, dry onions, green onions, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, taro
    • Nuts and other: almonds, pecans, walnuts, beans, mushrooms
    • To see the full list of eligible commodities, click here.
    • USDA is also establishing a process for the public to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. More information about this process can be found on
  • USDA’s Farm Service Agency will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2020.
  • FSA has launched a webinar series to provide details on CFAP. A webinar specifically for specialty crop producers will be held on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 3 PM EST. The registration link will be available here
  • CFAP payments are subject to a per person and legal entity payment limitation of $250,000. This limitation applies to the total amount of CFAP payments made with respect to all eligible commodities.
  • Unlike other FSA programs, special payment limitation rules will be applied to participants that are corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships (corporate entities). These corporate entities may receive up to $750,000 based upon the number of shareholders (not to exceed three shareholders) who contribute at least 400 hours of active person management or personal active labor.  
  • To view a video of the CFAP Payment Calculator Preview, click here.
  • Click here to view the CFAP final rule.
  • Click here to view the notice of funding availability.
  • Click here to view the cost-benefit analysis.
  • Click here to view the CFAP FAQ.
  • For more details on application and the CFAP program, click here or call 877-508-8364.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest loans due to the damaging effects of the coronavirus. Please use the following information as a resource to learn more about SBA loans.

After the passage in both the House and the Senate of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, the bill was signed by President Trump on June 5, 2020. The following information provides an overview of changes the bill would provide.

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act:

  • extends the application deadline for PPP loans through the end of the year
  • lengthens the time business owners have to spend the money from 8 weeks to 24 weeks
  • provides applicants with flexibility to use more funds on necessary expenses like mortgage payments and utilities
  • changes the 75/25 rule to 60/40 for loan forgiveness, which allows businesses to use 60% of funding on payroll and no more than 40% on other costs
  • deferral period extended to a minimum of six months and a maximum of 1 year 
  • increases flexibility for rehiring employees to qualify for loan forgiveness
  • allows employers to receive both PPP loan forgiveness and delayed payroll tax payments
  • establishes a minimum term for new PPP loans of 5 years, but nothing prohibits existing PPP borrowers from renegotiating the term of their PPP loans

Information is changing rapidly, please continue to refer to our resources as well as these helpful governments sites for the latest most up-to-date information.

COVID-19 Lending Programs:

  • $20.5 Million Additional for USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service Loan Guarantees
  • Middle Market Program
    • U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the establishment of the Main Street Business Lending Program on April 9, 2020.
    • The program is designed to offer assistance to small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the COVID-19 crisis by offering 4 year loans. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year.
    • With funds appropriated under the CARES Act, Treasury will make a $75 billion equity investment in a special purpose vehicle established to implement the Program.
    • Eligible Borrowers are businesses with up to 10,000 employees or $2.5 billion in 2019 annual revenues.
    • Main Street loans will be a minimum of $1 million and a maximum of either $25 million or an amount that “when added to the Eligible Borrower’s existing outstanding and committed but undrawn debt, does not exceed four times the Eligible Borrower’s 2019 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.”
    • The Fed will purchase up to $600 billion in loans, with an interest rate equal to the Fed’s Secure Overnight Financing Rate, currently 0.01%, plus 250-400 basis points with a four-year maturity.
    • Click here to view the Main Street Lending Program Frequently Asked Questions. (Updated May 27)
    • For an overview of the program, please visit the Federal Reserve website.
    • Main Street New Loan Facility Term Sheet (April 30)
    • Main Street Priority Loan Facility Term Sheet (April 30)
    • Main Street Expanded Loan Facility Term Sheet (April 30)
    • On May 27, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced new documents for the Main Street Lending Program Forms and Agreements.
    • For more information, please visit the US Department of the Treasury website.
    • As more information becomes available, we will continue to share those details.


How does PACA play into this?

One of the most important regulations supporting the fresh produce trade is the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, and especially the PACA Trust. The PACA trust enables produce sellers to have first priority for repayment of debts in the event of a customer’s bankruptcy. Produce sellers actually have higher priority than banks, tax payments or any other debts in the event of a dissolution of assets to debtors.

We strongly advise you to be careful to not inadvertently waive your rights under the PACA trust. The USDA PACA branch has confirmed specific guidance.