Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agency will make up to $1 billion in loan guarantees available to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during COVID-19. Also, agricultural producers who aren’t eligible for Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under the USDA Business and Industry CARES Act Program provisions that are included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Other changes will allow USDA to provide 90 percent guarantees on B & I CARES Act Program loans, to set the application and guarantee fee at two percent of the loan, as well as to accept appraisals completed within two years of the loan application date, and extend the maximum term for working capital loans to 10 years. “USDA is committed to be a strong partner to rural businesses and agricultural producers and being a strong supporter of all aspects of the rural economy,” Perdue says. “Ensuring more rural agricultural producers can gain access to much-needed capital in these unprecedented times is a cornerstone of that commitment.” USDA intends to consider applications in the order they’re received, but they may also assign priority points to projects if the demand for funds exceeds availability.