For the Week Ending June 5, 2020

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Today, President Trump signed into law legislation which would provide businesses with greater flexibility in how they use Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and still have their loans forgiven. H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act of 2020, passed the Senate Wednesday evening and overwhelmingly passed the House last week. Specifically, the legislation would: expand the amount of time businesses have to spend the money from eight to 24 weeks; reduce the minimum that businesses need to spend from 75 percent to 60 percent if they want the full loan amount to be forgiven; extend the time period to rehire employees from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 and eliminate rehiring requirements; and clarify that employers in the PPP program can also benefit from the CARES Act payroll tax delay.  

In the pork world, early June is synonymous with NPPC’s World Pork Expo in Des Moines, where more than 20,000 industry professionals gather for three days to showcase innovations, introduce new products and participate in training and educational programs. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 human-health concerns, NPPC had to cancel the event this year. However, Farm Journal opted to use its platforms this week to elevate the important role the pork industry plays in feeding the world. NPPC participated in a number of Farm Journal interviews and activities during “Pork Week” to highlight the current COVID-related challenges that are affecting hog farmers and the significant government assistance needed to ensure pork producers continue feeding the world. Among activities, on Tuesday, NPPC Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano was on AgriTalk, outlining the urgent need for the Senate to approve the agriculture livestock provisions of the HEROES Act in companion legislation, while on Wednesday, NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth also joined AgriTalk, discussing the current supply chain backlog and the need for urgent help. Additionally, on Friday morning, NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom participated in a Farm Journal webinar, highlighting the current state of African swine fever prevention efforts and overall lessons learned from COVID-19. For more information on U.S. pork industry’s response to COVID-related challenges, please visit here

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Labor jointly released interim guidance to protect agriculture workers from COVID-19. Agricultural employers can adapt these recommendations to protect workers at their particular work sites or in specific work operations, the agencies noted. Among details, agriculture industry management should conduct work site assessments to identify COVID-19 risks and infection prevention strategies to protect workers, and assess and identify opportunities to limit close contact with others (maintain a distance of at least six feet between people whenever possible) if feasible. This includes owners, operators, farmworkers, supervisors, crew leaders, delivery personnel and anyone else entering the agricultural workplace. Learn more about the interim guidance here

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently announced it is approving extensions on insurance deadlines to help producers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) are authorized to extend the deadlines for payment of premiums and administrative fees, defer the resulting accrual of interest and extend the correction time period for acreage reports or other forms. RMA is authorizing AIPs to provide additional time for policyholders to make payment of premium and administrative fees and to waive accrual of interest the earlier of 60 days after their scheduled payment due date or the termination date on policies with premium billing dates between May 1-July 31, 2020. Similarly, RMA is extending the correction time period an additional 30 days for an acreage report or other forms that must be submitted by the acreage reporting date. For more information, click here.