Baldwin, Thune lead push to expand PPP loans for farmers, ranchers

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, and John Thune, R-SD, as well as Congressman Ron Kind, D-WI, are leading a bipartisan group of their colleagues in urging the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Small Business Administration to issue new clarifications that would ensure more farmers and ranchers are eligible for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Baldwin, Thune, and Kind are joined in this bipartisan effort by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-IA, and John Hoeven, R-ND.

Many farmers, ranchers and agriculture producers were falling through the cracks in the Paycheck Protection Program when it was first created by the SBA last year. That’s why Baldwin and Thune’s bipartisan legislation was included in the recently passed Economic Aid Act to increase the amount of small and struggling farmers eligible to receive a loan from the PPP by allowing them to use gross income to calculate their loan award. However, many farmers and ranchers are organized as partnerships or limited liability companies, which are taxed differently than other farm and ranch entities. These agricultural producers have been unable to apply for loans under the new calculation because of the SBA’s interpretation of eligibility for partnerships or limited liability companies.

Earlier lawmakers urged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and SBA Acting Administrator Tami Perriello to act swiftly to clarify that all farmers and ranchers reporting self-employment income on tax form Schedule F can access these loans through this new eligibility calculation.

This new bipartisan push comes after Sen. Baldwin and Thune urged the Treasury Department and SBA in January to make more farmers eligible for the second round of PPP funds.