“That’s all we have to do?” Lois Fischer said for the third or fourth time in her short visit with Kelsey Ducheneaux, Natural Resource Director for the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC).
“Lois was confused by how simple it was to complete their disaster assistance applications,” Ducheneaux pointed out. “It was such a good feeling when Lois told me, ‘Even though it’s simple, we wouldn’t have gotten it done without you. Thank you for your help.’”
The visit between ag producer, Lois, and IAC Staff Member, Kelsey, was brief, conducted at a safe distance, and was done so in response to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on Lois and Leo’s cow-calf operation on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation.
“Perhaps our most important role as IAC Technical Assistance providers to this country’s most resilient food and ag producers is our focus on continued conversation,” Ducheneaux stressed. “Regardless of the obstacles that coronavirus has implemented in the simplest of daily communications, IAC and its partners have remained committed to ensuring our producers have the most critical updates that should be made readily available to them.”
The Fischers are known for having a house full of family and friends who gather together when the work is done at the corrals. “All of these people rely heavily upon agriculture as their main income source. If their situation sounds like yours, contact IAC for their technical expertise navigating the disaster assistance programs made available to combat the impacts the coronavirus has had on our agricultural communities,” Ducheneaux said.
Small Business Administration Updates:
IAC has hosted the Small Business Administration (SBA) on their webinar series to share information about the SBA’s disaster assistance program – the Economic Impact Disaster Loan (EIDL). You can view this webinar here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=K69cSFRWgSw&t=1s
In summary, a producer can apply for disaster loan assistance utilizing their most recent tax return’s Schedule F to qualify for:
A grant advance in the amount of $1,000 per employee.
A disaster assistance loan amount justified by the economic impact which COVID has placed on your business.
You may be asking yourself, “We have recently been notified the grant advance funds have been exhausted. What does this mean?”
Producers SHOULD STILL APPLY for the EIDL if their circumstance warrants disaster assistance. By our estimation at the IAC, every single ag producer in the country has lost a substantial amount of equity in their operations with the most recent market trends, and we feel all producers do qualify to apply. While you may not be eligible for the $1,000 per employee loan amount, it is helpful that you still complete the application, as the loan which you qualify for may be of more value to your operation anyway.
If you had applied for the SBA EIDL program, but received a denial in being offered a loan, we do encourage you to reach out to your local IAC Technical Assistant for support in submitting a reconsideration request. We are finding a growing number of originally denied ag producers have merely input their data into the application portal in a manner which automatically denies their application. Reconsiderations of applications have had increasingly positive outcomes. While this may not be the specific circumstance for you, it is important that you pursue all options in accessing this disaster assistance.
Farm Service Agency Updates:
Continuing our efforts to increase access to USDA programs for Indian producers, we are reminding ALL AG PRODUCERS to contact their local Farm Service Agency Office to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP offers disaster assistance to producers based on sales of inventory between January 15 through April 15, 2020, as well as on- hand inventory from April 16 through May 14, 2020.
Producers must apply for this program by August 28, 2020 to be considered. More information, fact sheets, and FAQ’s can be found at www.farmers.gov/cfap.
Contact your local IAC Technical Assistant Specialist for support in completing your application today www.indianag.org/whoweare.