Much of our nation’s agriculture industry is still facing the effects of COVID-19. The downturned economy, low commodity prices and the closure of multiple processing plants are just a few of the many problems our agriculture industry is facing due to the coronavirus.
As I have talked with local producers, I have found that optimism and hope are still there, but financial help is definitely needed during this time. Thanks to the Utah Department of Agriculture, some financial assistance is available to our Utah agriculture producers.
As of May 1, the Utah Department of Agriculture has provided some relief in these tough times. For the past couple weeks the Utah Department of Agriculture has been promoting its COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. Both the CARES Act and SB 3006 were adopted into law to assist Utah agriculture producers who are suffering large losses due to the restrictions that have been placed to help mitigate the potential and actual harm that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.
This COVID-19 relief grant provides immediate economic relief and is available in the form of a one-time grant (up to $40,000 per agriculture operation). There is no fee to apply, and unlike loans, these grants do not require any repayment. In order to apply for this grant, you will need to download the application from ag.utah.gov and then submit the application to UDAF-Loans@utah.gov.
The application process requires that you fill out your personal information, a budget describing your income, as well as your cash expenses. You will also need to attach a detailed explanation describing how your agriculture operation has been financially harmed as a direct result of the measures taken to minimize the public’s exposure to COVID-19, and how the funds you will receive through this program will ensure the continuation of food and fiber production. Last but not least, a Federal W-9 form will need to be included with your application.
In the original writeup of the COVID-19 relief grant program, applications were only being accepted until May 15. Luckily, the deadline has been extended until May 29 at 5 p.m.
If any of you are feeling the financial impacts of COVID-19 on your agriculture operations, I would encourage you to apply for these grants. These grants can help us maintain a strong agriculture industry even through these tough times. The relief grant may not be able to provide for all the financial losses we have seen over the past couple of months, but at least it can lighten the load a little.
If you have questions or concerns about the application process, please reach out to me at the Cache County Extension Office (435)752-6263. I can help answer any questions about the grant application process, and get you lined up with someone from the Utah Department of Agriculture.