The third COVID-19 package, a $2.2 trillion dollar program was approved on Friday. There are many aspects to the package, with sections designed to help individuals, businesses, health care, agriculture and others.

There are several options for small businesses under this bill to offset the costs incurred during the COVID-19 crisis. One option includes federal loans to small and medium sized businesses, which can be forgiven under certain circumstances. There is a retention tax credit available to businesses that do not take advantage of the loan program but do retain employees and have a demonstrated reduction in their business operations. There is also an option to defer payroll taxes.

For individuals, there is expanded unemployment assistance and expanded coverage and eligibility for unemployment benefits. Finally, there is direct financial assistance to individuals. This bill is extensive, and we will be studying the overall effect of this bill for some time. As usual, Fisher Phillips has an excellent summary of this bill. Click Here to access the Fisher Phillips article.

From the Producer’s perspective, the following is an article provided by Plains Cotton Growers:

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a $2.2 trillion legislative package known as the CARES Act, designed to protect public health and help individuals, businesses, health care, agriculture and others amidst the COVID-19 epidemic. President Trump has indicated he will immediately sign the bill into law.

Included in the CARES Act is critical help aimed at providing much needed relief to farm and ranch families who continue to experience enormous financial strain and market volatility.

The legislation provides $9.5 billion to the Office of the Secretary to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19 by providing support to agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, including farmers markets, restaurants, and schools, and livestock producers, including dairy producers. Additionally, the agreement replenishes the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority by $14 billion, which will provide USDA and the Administration necessary resources to assist producers in times of crisis. Lastly, the legislation gives authority to the Secretary of Agriculture to extend the term of the marketing assistance loan for any loan commodity to 12 months.

Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND) who spearheaded the relief provisions for agriculture said, “As the chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, I worked hard to secure nearly $25 billion to support our farmers and ranchers, who continue to produce the food, fuel and fiber our nation needs as we battle COVID-19.

The CARES Act will help provide much needed support for the American people so that we can beat the coronavirus.”

View the Senate Appropriations Committee section-by-section breakdown of the bill at