How CARES Act can help Oregon Ag business

Starting today, Oregon’s agricultural producers can apply for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The federal program is part of the recently passed CARES Act. It offers loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. We know Oregon’s agricultural producers are resilient and proudly independent. But in these uncertain times, they may need support to sustain the essential work of maintaining our critical food and fiber supply. ODA does not administer any part of the CARES Act. This is a notification only. For more information please contact the SBA’s Oregon District Office.

U.S. Small Business Administration
Oregon District Office
620 SW Main Street Suite 313
Portland, Oregon
(503) 326-2808

Here is what we know:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The new PPP loan is set up to help small businesses, including agriculture operations:

  • pay employees,
  • cover mortgage and rent payments, and
  • cover utility costs.

This loan can be 100% forgivable. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels for eight weeks. We encourage you to apply early, due to the potential for high demand.

How to Apply

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or any participating federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit System institution. Contact your local lender to see if they are participating or the SBA’s Portland office for guidance.

If you want to start your application, you can download a copy of the PPP borrower application form. This will provide you with the information that lenders need.

Loans will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for:

Loan Terms and Qualifications

  • payroll costs (at least 75% of the amount must have been used for payroll),
  • interest on mortgages, rent,
  • and utilities.

Loan payments are also deferred for six months. You do not need collateral or personal guarantees. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%.

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees affected by coronavirus/COVID-19. This includes agricultural operations. Loan amounts are based on the payroll costs for all employees whose “principal place of residence” is in the U.S. This definition excludes H-2A workers and will likely reduce the loan amount available to some agricultural producers.

What other resources are available to workers and employees?

The CARES Act provided $34.9 billion to USDA, FDA, and related agencies to provide support for America’s agriculture and rural economy. As more information becomes available, ODA will continue to share that information to help Oregonians respond.

For more information regarding COVID-19: Related Business Layoffs, Closures, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits, please visit the Oregon Employment Department (OED) website. The OED has Scenarios and Benefits documents in both English and Spanish.


The Oregon Employment Department is currently responding to historic levels of claims. If you or your employees need to file for unemployment, you need to file claims quickly. You can file claims with OED in English and Spanish.

Oregon’s agricultural community continues to demonstrate the core values that unite us all in the face of uncertainty and crisis. As we all are experiencing disruptions to daily routines and adjusting to new ways of doing business, the efforts to reduce the virus’ spread and limit pathways of exposure are showing encouraging results that will save lives.

ODA continues to commit to helping and doing our part as the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis is setting in. ODA’s COVID-19 website is frequently updated with current information and resources. Staff at the agency continue their work and uphold the promise to support Oregon agriculture.

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