WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hemp industry farmers and businesses have been included in the latest stimulus legislation—under The Economic Injury Disaster Loans program—signed on Friday by President Donald J. Trump, which will fund $484 billion in pandemic relief for small businesses, and additional economic crisis relief.
The Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act, which was expanded under the new legislation, allowed hemp and CBD businesses affected by the economic downturn due to the coronavirus crisis, to apply for loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Previous stimulus funding available through the USDA did not include emergency relief for hemp-related businesses or farms. The new package includes farmers and hemp-related businesses with less than 500 employees.
President of the Colorado Hemp Industries Association Tim Gordon noted that significant disruptions to the supply chain, as in other agricultural sectors, has affected hemp businesses up and down the line.
“Agriculture is deemed essential, but there’s an agricultural dynamic that’s being created by the pandemic where it’s interfering with the supply chain. These disruptions are going all the way to the hemp farmers,” Gordon told news platform United Press International (UPI).
The market climate created by the pandemic’s perfect storm comes at a challenging time for hemp farmers and the CBD industry, several insiders pointed out to UPI. The market is saturated with product, numerous retailers are closed under coronavirus protocols, and planting season has found many farmers without investors, loans, or funding for seeds and supplies, as crop values drop.
On April 13, hemp industry advocacy group Vote Hemp and other hemp trade organizations sent a letter to the SBA, asking for hemp farmers and related businesses to be included in relief funding. Other groups that signed the letter included the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, U.S. Hemp Growers Association, National Industrial Hemp Council, Hemp Industries Association, Midwest Hemp Council, Hemp Feed Coalition, and the Nebraska Hemp Industries Association.
“We are concerned about the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus on farmers and wanted to make sure that hemp producers were not left behind at this critical moment” said Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. “We urge the SBA and Congress to provide the same relief to hemp farmers that is being offered to other businesses.”
Pending federal policy and regulation for the hemp industry has been delayed since the 2018 Farm Act legalized hemp cultivation and production.