Digest Highlights

Dairy farmers gain improved access to PPP

Dairy and other farmers have expanded access to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under changes made in the COVID-19 stimulus package signed into law in late 2020, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). The new PPP application period is scheduled for Jan. 11-March 31. Producers who previously received PPP loans may be eligible for a second draw, beginning Jan. 13.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Producers who were previously denied PPP loans or whose loan amounts did not consider self-employment compensation may now be eligible for the federal small business support, said Jim Mulhern, NMPF CEO.

Those wanting to apply for a PPP loan should contact lenders directly for more information on when PPP will be open for that specific lender. Eligibility information and more details can be found here.

Created in March of 2020, the program’s emphasis on payroll raised inadvertent challenges for many farmers who do not issue structured payroll – namely those operating as sole proprietors, independent contractors or self-employed producers who file a Schedule F with their 1040 income tax form. The program’s loan application required such producers to use their net farm profit amount from their Schedule F tax form as a stand-in for their self-employment compensation when applying for a PPP loan. However, many farmers and ranchers filed a zero or negative net farm profit on their 2019 tax forms, effectually making them ineligible for the small business support.

All farmers and ranchers who file a Schedule F can apply or reapply for a PPP loan under the new rules. In general, agricultural producers and co-ops with 500 or fewer employees, including employees of businesses with which they have an affiliation, are eligible.


Numerous other related resources have arrived in Progressive Dairy’s inbox. Check these links for PPP information:

USDA solicits bids for cheese sticks

The USDA invited bids to source 75,600 pounds of mozzarella cheese sticks for distribution through federal food and nutrition assistance programs. Bids must be submitted by Jan. 15, with contracts to be awarded on Jan. 22. The cheese will be equally split for delivery in Arizona (April 1-15) and in California (June 1-15).

General Mills’ characters adding milk mustaches

General Mills and “got milk?” are partnering on a campaign to make breakfast fun while highlighting the nutritional benefits of milk and cereal. General Mills is debuting special, limited-edition packaging on popular cereals featuring their beloved characters – such as Buzz, Lucky, Trix Rabbit and more – donning the famous got milk? mustache.

For kids who eat cereal, 53% of their daily milk consumption comes from pouring it on cereal, according to Amy Cohn, senior nutrition manager at General Mills.

The limited-edition boxes will also include coupons for digital rebates for milk and General Mills’ cereals. The promotion partnership kicked off on National Milk Day, Jan. 11, and also features a social media campaign featuring celebrities showing off their breakfast milk mustaches.

“Our goal with this campaign is to provide inspiration and tools that are accessible to all parents to help make breakfast fun and nutritious,” said Yin Woon Rani, CEO of MilkPEP.

Barometer reveals improved economic sentiment

The Purdue University/CME Group’s latest “Ag Economy Barometer,” released Jan. 5, revealed a modest improvement in farmer economic sentiment driven by higher crop prices. Combined with a more bullish perspective on both short- and long-term land values, producers were noticeably more inclined to think about making capital and machinery investments in their farming operations

Producers were somewhat less optimistic about U.S. agriculture’s trade prospects and were more concerned about increasing environmental regulations and prospects for higher taxes under the Biden administration.

The monthly survey, conducted Dec. 7-11, 2020, collects responses from 400 producers whose annual market value of production is equal to or exceeds $500,000. Minimum targets by enterprise are as follows: 53% corn/soybeans, 14% wheat, 3% cotton, 19% beef cattle, 5% dairy and 6% hogs.

Things you might have missed

  • The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), in collaboration with 14 other food and agriculture organizations, sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden offering assistance with nationwide COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The letter noted many companies across the food supply chain have retained nurses and healthcare professionals to assist with vaccinations when they are available. The letter also asked Biden to designate a federal coronavirus vaccine coordinator in each of the 50 states and other U.S. territories to serve as liaisons between the federal government and state and local health officials to ensure an efficient distribution of the vaccine among priority populations.  end mark