Just last week, equine facilities and advocates across the state heralded the work done by New York’s congressional delegation to include equine facilities in the definition of agricultural enterprises, effectively making them eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
The expanded definition was included in the recently passed “3.5 stimulus package” which was slated to provide increased emergency relief for farmers, small businesses, hospitals and testing capacity.
Equine facilities were relieved to hear they would finally be eligible for a modest amount of federal assistance as many such enterprises (which were shut out of components of the initial federal relief package) have been without revenue since the State’s PAUSE efforts shuttered all non-essential businesses on March 22, 2020.
Passage of this package was to have provided access to both the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans to equine facilities charged with caring for their families and a stable full of 1200-pound animals.
They were, however, disappointed once again as the April 27th scheduled re-opening of the application process came and went without the Small Business Administration accepting new applications, citing the backlog of applicants already in the queue and the very real possibility that the new funds will also be exhausted before new applicants are considered.
Concurrently, media outlets across the country continue to report that huge corporations have consumed an enormous amount of the funds allocated for the relief programs.
The NY Times recently reported “A company in Georgia paid $6.5 million to resolve a Justice Department investigation — and, two weeks later, received a $10 million federally backed loan to help it survive the coronavirus crisis.”
The article went on to say “dozens of large but lower-profile companies with financial or legal problems have also received large payouts under the program, according to an analysis of the more than 200 publicly traded companies that have disclosed receiving a total of more than $750 million in bailout loans. In the meantime, small farms and businesses plunge into debt with little hope of recovery.
Nanci Beyerl, owner of Peaceful Acres Horses, an upstate New York rescue facility who provides respite to equines and offers emotionally supportive programming for at-risk teens, youth, families, veterans and women, detailed the facility’s futile month long process attempting to access federal aid through the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
“To date, we have received only $1,000 in federal assistance. Our monthly cost for running the program and caring for the animals is nearly $20,000. I do not know where this funding support is being allocated. I can only guess it is not to all the tiny – small – important business, farmers and not for profit organizations who need it for sustainability.”
Karin Carreau, Chair of the Board and Co-Founder of HORSEPOWER. Inc., a nonprofit equine welfare policy organization, noted that “The mismanagement of funds intended to assist our small businesses and farms is abhorrent. The lack of transparency is nothing short of criminal. As such, we are calling on the New York Delegation to advocate for and usher in a new proposal that would finally come to the aid of such facilities.” Carreau said a solution would include:
- Providing a forgivable one - time relief funding product specifically for agricultural enterprises with revenue of less than $250,000 per year, and
- Including a pandemic as a qualifying event for USDA disaster relief loans
Carreau went on to say, “New York is a horse state, maintaining a thriving equine industry is vital to the health of the State’s economy – we cannot afford to lose it or the horses that have served us.”
According to The New York State Equine Industry Economic Impact Study, “The equine industry has a $4.2 billion effect on the state’s economy and generates 33,000 full-time jobs. Equine commerce also results in $187 million in state and local taxes for New York. The thousands of horse farms, training centers and riding stables doing business across the state preserve 1.3 million acres of open space.”
HORSEPOWER, Inc. is a non-profit organization incorporated in New York State, working to assure the safety and well-being of equines through education, awareness and allies. It is the only statewide equine welfare organization focused solely on policy. Learn more about us at WWW.HORSEPWR.ORG
Press release provided by Karin Carreau, - Chair HORSEPOWER, INC.