What is the CARES Act that congress recently passed to assist Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic? And does the relief plan include hemp farmers?
Let’s start with the CARES Act. Defined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the CARES Act provides quick, direct economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries.
Sounds simple, right? That depends on who you ask. But we will try to break it down in the simplest terms. The CARES Act allocates critical financial support to American businesses, including legal hemp farmers. The SBA states legal hemp businesses are eligible for SBA assistance.
Some hemp producers will be eligible for the CARES Act’s new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which delivers up to $350 billion in cash-flow assistance to employers that maintain their payroll during the COVID-19 crisis.
Breaking Down the Numbers
Hemp producers grow a beneficial plant. Hemp provides a rare economic opportunity for farmers and — CBD brands like Smilyn Wellness.
The percentage of young hemp farmers is on the rise. The immense interest of CBD has seen the estimated quantity of hemp planted in the U.S. more than triple — from 78,000 acres in 2018 to 285,000 acres this year. Getting the farmers the help they need to survive is essential.
The CARES Act allocates stimulus monies to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), for which hemp farmers and farming businesses. Specifically, the CARES Act reserves:
- $9.5 billion to the Secretary of USDA for providing support for impacted agricultural producers, including producers of specialty crops; and
- $20.5 million to the Rural Business Program Account for the cost of loans for rural business development programs under the federal Farm and Rural Development Act.
Hemp farmers and farming businesses with federally backed mortgage loans obtained by USDA may also request forbearance for up to 180 days, during which no fees, penalties, or interest will accrue.
The Impact of CARES Act on Hemp Farmers
It’s no secret — agriculture has become a commodity.
Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc., was recently quoted in Hemp Market Report, “We appreciate that the CARES Act includes language that designates relief for small businesses and relief for farmers – hemp farmers should absolutely be included in this as federal law now treats hemp as an agricultural commodity and not a controlled substance. While marijuana businesses and cultivators would not receive relief, hemp farmers should receive and benefit from direly needed stimulus funds. The hemp industry needs support now so that it can lead in uplifting and revamping the economy when the dust settles.”
Hemp producers who want relief should plan to act fast as funds are going to run out quickly. For more information, hemp farms should go to the U.S. Treasury website. 2