Disclosure: The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the U.S. Small Business Association in May for $12,500.

A very small percentage of businesses in the agriculture industry received Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans, which were intended to help keep people employed as the economy convulsed during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, of the agricultural companies that did receive loans, dairies received the most, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of federal data released in July.

To be eligible for a loan, the Small Business Administration requires that companies satisfy its size requirements of a “small business,” which vary by industry. For example, in agriculture, an egg producer should not exceed $16.5 million in gross revenue, and pig farmers should not exceed $1 million.

The federal government could forgive the loans if the company used the funds for payroll, rent, utilities, or interest on mortgage payments, according to the small business administration. The data, which was released in July, shows about 8,000 agricultural companies promised the loans would save, in total, about 490,000 jobs.

More than 1,500 agricultural companies did not promise to save any jobs when, according to the Midwest Center’s analysis.

Overall, about 13 percent of all businesses that received loans either said zero jobs would be supported or left the entry blank. Among just the agricultural industry, the figure was 16 percent, according to the analysis.

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