The Small Business Administration has been slow to approve many agricultural banks under the new Paycheck Protection Program.
Politico says that the program has been overwhelmed with applications and is expected to run out of its initial $350 billion as soon as this week.
“There’s a lot of farmers out there trying to line up for the funding,” says Todd Van Hoose, President of the Farm Credit Council. “By the time they get there, the money will likely be gone.”
The Paycheck Protection loans weren’t originally designed for agriculture, but they could be valuable for the hard-hit segments that have larger workforces, such as dairy farmers and specialty crop growers.
Van Hoose says farm creditors are in for a “heck of a task” because they have virtually no experience working with the Small Business Administration.
While many businesses are focused on getting direct payments or loans, another avenue of aid will likely be commodity purchases.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue did confirm on Wednesday that USDA will buy commodities like dairy and meat to help combat food waste and stock the nation’s food banks.
“We want to purchase as much of this milk, hams and pork products, as well as other proteins, and then move them into our nation’s food banks, as well as even into international humanitarian aid,” Perdue says.