Hastings Leads Letter Calling for Small Farms to be Eligible for Emergency Aid from the Small Business Administration

f t # e
Fort Lauderdale, FL, April 6, 2020 | comments

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) led a bipartisan letter to Jovita Carranza, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), calling for the SBA to allow small farms which would qualify as small businesses to be eligible to apply for Emergency Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) relief, in light of the uncertainty and economic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing for business. During a time where supply chains are disrupted, it is particularly important to support farms that are feeding our nation. Farmers create stability for the nation’s food supply, so it is incumbent on our nation to ensure economic stability for them. Joining Hastings in signing the letter were Representatives (16): Ted Deutch, Kathy Castor, Mario Diaz-Balart, Al Lawson, Charlie Crist, Lois Frankel, Stephanie Murphy, Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Neal Dunn, Darren Soto, Bill Posey, Greg Steube, John Rutherford, Val Demings, and Ted Yoho. (Please find below and attached a copy of the letter).

April 6, 2020

Administrator Jovita Carranza
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 3rd St, SW
Washington, D.C. 20416

Dear Administrator Carranza:

We write as representatives of Florida’s farming community to express our grave concern with the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) decision to preclude agriculture enterprises such as farms from eligibility for the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, despite the impact COVID-19 has had on their viability as small businesses.

As you know, the agricultural sector in Florida is the second largest contributor to our state’s economy. Florida is home to over 47,000 farms across 9.7 million acres of land that contribute to the national food supply chain and billions of dollars to our economy. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused the demand for Florida farmers’ produce to decline significantly as part of a chain reaction that has reached numerous sectors, businesses, and communities. The closure and reduced service of resturants, tourist attractions, and the overall restriction of movement throughout the state clearly and directly affects farmers, however farms are listed as an ineligible entity on the EIDL application.

This has not only affected Florida, but farmers across the United States who face loss of product, income, and business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our farmers feed the nation, and Florida’s specialty crop producers ensure year-round access to seasonal fruits and vegetables and a steady food supply chain. We ask that the Small Business Administration extend EDILs to small business farmers, so they may access much needed financial support and stability during this time of immense uncertainty. Specifically, we ask that you remove “agriculture enterprise” as an ineligible entity on the EIDL application, so that farms that meet the guidelines of a small business may receive the relief that will allow them to stock our grocery produce sections and continue to cultivate and harvest their crops. It is incumbent on the federal government to provide stability to those most in need, during a time of health and economic crisis.  Therefore, we implore you to respond to the clear, immediate need of our agricultural businesses and the families that rely on them to put healthy, low-cost food on their tables.

Thank you for your consideration of this urgent request, and we look forward to collaborating with you to protect and bolster our small business community as our nation progresses through this crisis.

Sincerely,
                                                                                              
Alcee L. Hastings                                                                   
Member of Congress                                                                     

Ted Deutch     
Member of Congress

Kathy Castor                                                                           
Member of Congress

Mario Diaz-Balart
Member of Congress

Al Lawson                                                                              
Member of Congress

Charlie Crist
Member of Congress

Lois Frankel                                                                            
Member of Congress

Stephanie Murphy
Member of Congress

Donna E. Shalala                                                                     
Member of Congress

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Member of Congress
                        
Neal P. Dunn, M.D.                                                                
Member of Congress

Darren Soto
Member of Congress
                                   
Bill Posey                                                                    
Member of Congress

W. Gregory Steube
Member of Congress

John H. Rutherford                                                                 
Member of Congress

Val B. Demings
Member of Congress

Ted S. Yoho, D.V.M.                                                             
Member of Congress                                                              

Cc: Secretary Sonny Perdue, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

###

f t # e

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.

Office Locations