The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a part of the historic federal CARES Act. It’s designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll during the economic downturn. But, the nearly $350 billion dollars set aside for the PPP was exhausted on April 16th.
Now, Washington lawmakers are moving to reload the PPP with an additional $310 billion dollars, and it couldn’t come at a better time for North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers.
“In the next few weeks is gonna be one of the more labor intensive times for both crops and live stocks,” said Burleigh County Ag & Natural Resources agent Tyler Kralicek.
Kralicek says North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers need to keep their employees paid and operations going right now.
“Just making sure we have those different processes; planting, spraying. You know turning calves out to pasture. Making sure that those different entities of livestock are in the right position to set them up for that next stage is going to be crucial here in the next few weeks,” explained Kralicek.
U.S. Congressman Kelly Armstrong is working with fellow lawmakers to keep North Dakota’s Ag industry going through the pandemic.
“It’s incredibly important for our supply chain, for food all across the country. It’s a national security issue and it’s a way of life for North Dakota,” said Armstrong.
U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer worked with North Dakota banks before the CARES Act was signed to prepare those banks for an influx of PPP loan applications from small businesses, including farmers and ranchers.
“The result of that is $1.5 billion dollars most of that loaned to 11 thousand businesses in North Dakota in that first trounche, most of that community banks,” explained Cramer.
There is already a back-log of PPP applications in North Dakota, and applications are sitting in limbo because the first batch of funding ran out.
But, Cramer recommends farmers and ranchers, who have not done so yet, should avoid waiting for more federal funding. They should apply for PPP right away.
“I would say if you haven’t started the process with your banker, and if you haven’t gone online and applied, it’s a simple two page document. I would say do it today so that you’re ahead of the curve,” said Cramer.
The Small Business Association will forgive PPP loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and if the money is also used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.