Ernst, Hoeven seek PPP clarification to support loans for U.S. farmers, ranchers

U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and John Hoeven (R-ND) seek increased eligibility for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for America’s farmers and ranchers and urged both the U.S. Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to issue new clarifications toward that goal.

In a bipartisan Feb. 12 letter sent to federal Treasury and SBA officials, Sens. Ernst, Hoeven, and lawmakers including U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) requested that the SBA provide its interpretation of Division N, Title III, Sec. 313 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, entitled: “Calculation of Maximum Loan Amount for Farmers and Ranchers Under the Paycheck Protection Program.” 

“As the authors of, and advocates for, this provision, we aim to provide you information that may be useful for your interpretation of legislative intent. We believe Sec. 313 provides the SBA the authority to apply the new maximum loan calculations included in this provision to partnerships, limited liability companies, and any other farm or ranch entity taxed as a partnership reporting self-employment income on tax form Schedule F,” according to their letter.

The senators pointed out that Sec. 313 provides a new maximum loan calculation to an eligible recipient that “operates as a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor, or is an eligible self-employed individual.” Yet farmers and ranchers without payroll or positive net income in 2019 were shut out of the original PPP, they wrote.  

“Many farmers and ranchers in our states and districts organized as partnerships or limited liability companies have been unable to apply for loans under the new calculation because of the confusion around this narrow interpretation even though they file self-employment income on a tax form Schedule F,” wrote Sens. Ernst, Hoeven and the other lawmakers. “We urge you to act as swiftly as possible to clarify that all farmers and ranchers reporting self-employment income on tax form Schedule F can access this new formula created by Sec. 313.”