USDA

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded the announcement this week that agricultural producers, for the first time, are now eligible for the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs.

“America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers need the same help that other American businesses need during this unprecedented time,” said Secretary Perdue. “This significant new authority signed by President Trump will make a tremendous difference for America’s agricultural community.”

SBA’s EIDL portal has been closed since April 15. However, the Agency is able to reopen the portal, in a limited capacity, as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation, which was signed into law by the President one week ago, provided additional critical funding for farmers and ranchers affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In order to help facilitate this important change to EIDL Loan and EIDL Advance assistance eligibility, SBA is re-opening the Loan and Advance application portal to agricultural enterprises only. For agricultural producers that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted prior to April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

For more information, please visit: www.sba.gov/Disaster.

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USDA announces $100 million for American Biofuels Infrastructure

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture intends to make available up to $100 million in competitive grants for activities designed to expand the availability and sale of renewable fuels.

“America’s energy independence is critical to our economic security, and President Trump fully recognizes the importance of our ethanol and biofuels industries and the positive impacts they deliver to consumers and farmers with an affordable, abundant, and clean burning fuel,” Secretary Perdue said. “American ethanol and biofuel producers have been affected by decreased energy demands due to the coronavirus, and these grants to expand their availability will help increase their use during our economic resurgence.”

The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) consist of up to $100 million in funding for competitive grants or sales incentives to eligible entities for activities designed to expand the sales and use of ethanol and biodiesel fuels. Funds will be made directly available to assist transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities with converting to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to and/or offering sales incentives for the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment, and infrastructure.

USDA is making the grants available under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). The program is intended to increase significantly the sale and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products.

Grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, but not more than $5 million, are available to vehicle fueling facilities, including, but not limited to, local fueling stations/locations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, fuel terminal operations, midstream partners and/or distribution facilities.

USDA plans to make available approximately $86 million for implementation activities related to higher blends of fuel ethanol, and approximately $14 million for implementation activities related to higher blends of biodiesel. Higher biofuel blends are fuels containing ethanol greater than 10 percent by volume and/or fuels containing biodiesel blends greater than five percent by volume.

For application information and other program details, see the public inspection notice in the Federal Register (PDF, 369 KB), or visit the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program web page.