Lenders have farmers' backs during COVID-19 uncertainty

Content Credit: Maryland Grain Producers | Jenell Eck

To produce food, fuel, and fiber for all, farmers have a number of expenses, including land, equipment, labor, seed, and other inputs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers are concerned, like many others, about paying these bills. Thankfully, in Delmarva's agricultural community, lenders stepped up to help.

MidAtlantic Farm Credit works hand in glove with customers in order to tailor any changes and ensure the best possible outcomes. Committed to keeping food production humming once the pandemic's effects began to be felt, Farm Credit began suspending any new foreclosure actions and waiving wire fees. Borrowers could pay interest-only or defer payments all together through an easy, streamlined three-month deferral program (with an option for an additional three months). On MidAtlantic Farm Credit's website, members could stay up-to-date on COVID-19 resources, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a forgivable government loan to keep employees on the payroll full-time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Farm Credit administered over 300 loans, totaling over $16 million, through PPP. Lastly, Farm Credit distributed over $17 million in patronage, or dividends, back to its members in April.

One of Delmarva's large broiler growers took advantage of the PPP loans to keep his full-time employee paid. Since 2015, Brian Kunkowski has raised chickens in four houses, producing six million pounds of meat each year. In 2016, Brian and M&T Bank began a strong relationship with a great fixed-rate loan. With M&T's customer service, Brian and his wife had an easy PPP application process and were able to ensure all bills were paid while his birds were in the houses 10 days longer than normal, requiring more energy, feed and water and pushing back his settlement paycheck.

"Being proactive is important when it comes to finances," said Brian. When the pandemic began, Brian was unsure if he would get paid or when because of all the unknowns. Through M&T's business, Brain was able to receive the appropriate resources to keep his stress comfortable. "Today, we still don't know how things will be in 6 months," Brian said, but he has also taken advantage of M&T's line of credit to keep the farm operating, as well as M&T's customized reward business credit card. Brian summed up: "Without institutions like M&T, we wouldn't have the farms to produce the food. It all works together."

#ChickenSteppedUp


Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. is the Delmarva chicken industry's voice as the premier membership association focusing on advocacy, education and member relations. For more information, visit dpichicken.org; like DPI on Facebook; and follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

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