Agricultural businesses now eligible for federal funding

Published: May. 6, 2020 at 5:33 PM EDT
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The agricultural community is taking a major hit during the

pandemic; and with more than 1,500 ag-based jobs, it's the largest industry in Bedford County.

Now, federal funding is available, but the question remains, will it be enough?

Chuck Grove is a fourth-generation farmer. “My father bought this farm in 1959," he said.

Raising feeder calves isn’t just a Grove family tradition, it’s a way of life. “A 500-pound feeder calf is worth $1.25 today, tomorrow it might be worth $1.10," he said, adding cattle prices are fluid especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The whole food chain from the farm to the table is getting backed up because of the lack to process cattle," he said. "It puts a strain on everyone here, you can’t project what your income is going to be.”

Grove’s farm, like many other agricultural businesses in Bedford County, has workers on payroll and daily expenses.

Now, the

is extending funds to those ag businesses.

The SBA will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses.

The new eligibility is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress.

Agricultural businesses include those engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture and all other farming and agricultural-related industries.

But leaders fear money is in short supply. "The first round of funding, which, of course, did not include agricultural businesses as eligible entities, that money went pretty quickly and there was a waiting list. They were going to be processing those waiting lists applicants before they got to the applicants that applied in this new round," explained Scott Baker with the county Cooperative Extension. "So I guess time will tell how many agricultural businesses can benefit."

Baker says he hopes new funding will soon be made available from the USDA.

For more details on the SBA loan,

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