NCDA&CS sharing COVID-19-related financial assistance resources

By on March 30, 2020

COVID-19 has upended seemingly all aspects of our lives, including established markets and income sources for some. NCDA&CS is sharing financial assistance resources that we have learned about. Please note these resources are not offered by NCDA&CS. Contact information and links for more information are provided with the listings.

Farmers and food businesses may be able to take advantage of several grant and loan programs being offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following are some of the available opportunities:

RAFI-USA will be offering emergency mini-grants for N.C. farmers who have experienced a drastic loss of income as a result of COVID-19 and need immediate assistance for personal household expenses. Sign up here to receive updates on the grants and for more details.

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses affected by COVID-19. Sign up for updates here.

The Golden LEAF Foundation is fronting $15 million to launch a Rapid Recovery Loan Program. Startup businesses that began operation before March 23, 2020 are eligible. Loan sizes are capped at about two months of current revenue (up to $50,000) — with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.

We are working with our federal partners to better understand the opportunities in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Agriculture will most certainly be impacted like other sectors of the economy, and we are grateful ag is included in the relief package.

Included in the overall plan is $9.5 billion to Office of the Secretary (USDA) for ag producers impacted by coronavirus (livestock, dairy, farmers markets, restaurants, specialty crop, and local food systems.)

This is a broad package with not a lot of details right now on how it would be distributed. As more details on program specifics become available, they will be shared.

Also included is $100 million for the RECONNECT PILOT program.

The bill provides grants for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

North Carolina is participating in this pilot already, so hopefully the reach of broadband in rural communities can be broaden with this additional funding.

Broadband is important infrastructure for rural North Carolina, and especially so now because of the need to distance ourselves from one another.

Posted in: Field Notes

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