Tester Secures Expansion of Relief Programs to Cover Montana Family Farms and Ranches in Interim Relief Package

Agriculture businesses, farms, and ranches with fewer than 500 employees now qualify for small business disaster relief loans

Continuing his push to make sure Montana’s family farms and ranches receive relief during the global pandemic, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured an expansion of the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loan and Emergency Economic Injury Grant Programs to include ag businesses, farms, and ranches with fewer than 500 employees.

This expansion was not included in Senator Mitch McConnell’s initial legislation, and was only added after Tester-backed bipartisan negotiations.

“Montana’s family farms and ranches are the lifeblood of our state’s agriculture, which is our state’s number one industry and is vital to rural communities across Big Sky Country,” said Tester. “The fact is our independent ag producers were just scraping by before this pandemic, so I fought to make sure this program was expanded to include them because these folks need certainty as we head into planting season. I am not going to let Washington leave rural America behind.”

Today’s interim coronavirus relief package included $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Under the Tester-backed Phase I COVID-19 legislative package signed into law in early March, the SBA can issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration, which makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas to provide relief from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Last month, Tester announced that qualifying businesses in every Montana county were eligible for the loans.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. After 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding includes $1.25 billion for the state of Montana.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak