MRCC’s Response to COVID-19
Coming Together to Make A Difference
MRCC is working harder than ever to offset the current pain suffered in Missouri as a result of the coronavirus. This ranges from working to ensure Missourians in need have access to family farm food (including Patchwork Family Farms pork) to doing everything we can to help sustain everyone in the local food system in Mid-MO during this challenge.
This crisis is highlighting the systemic problems with the way our state, country and world grow and distribute food, and we know we must use this as an unfortunate opportunity to identify and change the current status quo. By organizing to relocalize our food production, processing and distribution systems, we can bring it closer to our communities and families and keep our local economies moving.
We all still have a lot of work to do together. Please join us.
See snippets below of what we’re doing right now:
- Our immediate response to get people the family farm food they need.
- MRCC taking on corporate ag in the media: organizing to demand that public stimulus funding goes to local businesses on our Main Streets, not corporate ag.
- Need help getting stimulus funds for your local business? Here’s a start!
- MRCC COVID 19 Community Response Survey–your answers will help us look ahead and organize to respond to moments like these.
- Distributed nearly 400 Patchwork Family Farms relief boxes (about 3,000 pounds) of sustainably raised family farm pork to local restaurants and their staff. And we’re still getting requests.
- Offering curb-side pick-up and door-to-door delivery for Patchwork Family Farms retail customers with a 15% discount (or more if they need it).
- Encouraging people to buy from local food restaurants and grocery stores by highlighting them on social media and our email lists with our #BuyLocalCoMo campaign on the Patchwork Family Farms Facebook page. We we also started a “Patchwork Family Farms Local Food Loyalty Card”, which will entice people to support local Missouri farms & businesses with free MRCC and Patchwork Family Farms gear.
- Distributing Patchwork Family Farms to 300 limit-income rural families across our state through our rural food cooperative program.
You can read the entire Farm Progress story here: https://www.farmprogress.com/farm-policy/farm-orgs-call-oversight-covid-aid-package
You can read the entire Missourian story here: https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/covid19/local-farms-and-markets-adapt-to-pandemics-impact/article_660dce2c-75ad-11ea-9ddd-639af7e7f233.html
You can read the entire Joplin Globe story here: https://www.joplinglobe.com/opinion/columns/darvin-bentlage-status-quo-not-working-for-cattle-producers-consumers/article_76b385dd-8a05-5964-bb8d-37cc7ea6dc52.html
You can read the entire Missourian story here: https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/covid19/patchwork-family-farms-donates-pork-relief-boxes-to-restaurant-employees/article_0298cf84-7438-11ea-b0e2-e760dfff7081.html
So far, nearly 200 MRCC members and supporters have responded to our “COVID-19 Community Rural Response Survey”.
Thank you, it’s great to hear from you all, and your responses will help us look ahead and organize to respond to moments like these now and in the future.
If you haven’t taken the survey yet, and if possible, we’d like to hear from you. We know that everyone is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways, in our families, our work, and our communities.
Please take 3-5 minutes to fill out our MRCC COVID-19 Community Rural Response Survey.
There are two programs through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which included nearly $360 billion in forgivable loans to help small businesses cover expenses like payroll, rent, mortgage, utilities, or other obligations that cannot be met due to the unexpected losses in revenue associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program allows small businesses to get a loan to cover their existing payroll. Businesses can apply for up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll, up to $10 million. And if they have the same number of employees at the same pay rates as of eight weeks after the loan, whatever portion of the loan was applied to payroll will be forgiven (i.e. not have to be paid back).
The loan can also cover mortgage interest, rent, and utilities – but the amount of the loan forgiveness will be reduced if more than 25% of the loan proceeds are used on these or similar non-payroll expenses. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees, as well as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, can apply. Farms are eligible, but they might be required to meet the SBA’s revenue cap for farms, namely having less than $1 million in annual revenues. (Whether the revenue cap applies or not is unclear.)
SBA requires that farms and agricultural businesses first explore Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan programs, particularly if the applicant has a prior or existing relationship with FSA. Applications for PPP forgivable loans are done through private banks and lenders, including Farm Credit.
Find PPP information on the Small Business Administration website here:
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
The CARES Act also provided $10 billion to expand SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, including adding emergency grants of up to $10,000 that do not need to be repaid. Unlike PPPs, EIDLs can cover a broad range of business-related expenses. An EIDL loan and emergency grant can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that a business cannot pay because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
As with the PPP, small businesses and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees are generally eligible to obtain an EIDL. But small farms and other “agricultural enterprises” might be excluded.
Historically, SBA has said that “agricultural enterprises” are ineligible for EIDLs. Agricultural enterprises include “those small business concerns engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries.” However, agricultural cooperatives, nurseries, and aquaculture businesses historically are eligible for EIDLs, as are restaurants and food manufacturers.
So the question becomes whether the historical exclusion of agricultural enterprises applies to the expanded EIDLs provided for under the CARES Act.
In order to apply for and receive an EIDL, applicants must self-certify that they are eligible to receive a disaster assistance loan by completing the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application. Applications for an EIDL are done directly through SBA’s website.
You can access the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance application here:
*A big thank you to Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance for putting this information together!