Like pretty much anything that happens in Washington DC, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act had good intentions but a mixed bag of results. On the positive side, it provided provisions for citizens who were facing mounting bills and shrinking income; aid to small businesses; expanded unemployment insurance and more. On the downside, there was seemingly little oversight as to who was able to get money from the loan program.
The Los Angeles Lakers, per ABC News, received about $4.6 million through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program – before giving the money back due to the outcry. It is true that any professional sports team has, in addition to their million-dollar professional athletes, a large network of salaried employees who are actually responsible for keeping the team running. For every LeBron James, you have a dozen of more employees whose job is to manage catering, run security, coordinate travel, sell T-shirts, etc. Their jobs are important, too.
That said, the Lakers are estimated to be worth $4.6 billion, according to Forbes. Does that sound like a small business that is in dire need of government assistance in order to stay in business? The PPP program lasted less than two weeks before the funds were depleted, and many small companies were left out.
A couple of recent stories showed the positive effects for the meat industry. The Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund announced that $2 million in CARES Act funds would be made available to facilitate the expansion of meat processing in the state. Additionally, the Iowa Department of Agriculture announced that more than 200 small processors in the state were awarded Meat Processing and Expansion grants.
“The demand at local meat processors skyrocketed after COVID-19 caused disruptions in the food supply chain. These businesses extended their hours and added shifts to help local farmers but many of them are still running at capacity,” said Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig. “The CARES Act funds will help these processors expand their operations to serve more producers in their communities, and give them opportunities to explore new markets for their products.”
At some point, there should be another stimulus package to help individuals and small businesses. It may come in the waning days of the Trump Administration, or it could come near the start of the Biden Administration. The timing seems to rely on who is in charge of the Senate and what their priorities are. But when it does get signed into law, be sure to take advantage of it. Small meat processors have had a tumultuous year – it was financially successful but mentally stressful. Many companies have had to rewrite their future plans, either to reach out to new markets or accelerate business expansion. There will likely be state or federal funds available to help you.
Keep aware of these opportunities so that you can react quickly when the time comes. If you are not a member in a national or state trade association, this would be a good time to join, as they can look out for your best interests as well.