COVID-19 Resources

Navigating the Paycheck Protection Program

In response to Covid19, The Carrot Project is offering office hours and some information about PPP. The office hours are to help farmers and food producers, with under 500K gross income, in MA, CT, RI, and the Hudson Valley. Business advisors can help businesses consider the financial impact of COVID 19 and what changes, if any, they need to make. They can also help with basic support around PPP. Below is a message from their Client Service Specialist Jeff Cole, 4/27/2020


The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was just approved for a second round of low interest, forgivable loans. The loans are designed to help small business owners pay their employees during this pandemic.


Not all loan uses are forgivable. Be sure you know your intended use of the loan funds. This article details what is and isn’t forgivable.


The first round of funding ran out within days. The second round  opened up today (April 27th). If you plan to apply you should plan to do so as quickly as possible. You will apply through your bank so first make sure your bank is participating, and second: get in touch with them as soon as possible.


The application itself is pretty straightforward. We’ve detailed information below about common questions.


Do I qualify?
According to the Small Business Administration, the following entities may be eligible:

  • Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry based sized standard or the alternative size standard). This includes farm businesses.

  • Any business with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location.

  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons.

  • Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans’ organization, or Tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of:

    • 500 employees, or

    • That meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500


What can I use the funds for?

  • Payroll costs, including benefits;

  • Interest on mortgage obligations, incurred before February 15, 2020;

  • Rent, under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020; and

  • Utilities, for which service began before February 15, 2020.


How do I calculate what I qualify for?
The following methodology (as detailed on the SBA website) which is one of the methodologies contained in the Act, will be most useful for many applicants.

Step 1: Aggregate payroll costs from the last twelve months for employees whose principal place of residence is  the United States.
Step 2: Subtract any compensation paid to an employee in excess of an annual salary of $100,000 and/or any amounts paid to an independent contractor or sole proprietor in excess of $100,000 per year.
Step 3: Calculate average monthly payroll costs (divide the amount from Step 2 by 12).
Step 4: Multiply the average monthly payroll costs from Step 3 by 2.5.
Step 5: Add the outstanding amount of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) made between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020, less the amount of any “advance” under an EIDL COVID-19 loan (because it does not have to be repaid).


The examples below illustrate this methodology.

Example 1 – No employees make more than $100,000 Annual payroll: $120,000

Average monthly payroll: $10,000 Multiply by 2.5 = $25,000 Maximum loan amount is $25,000


Example 2 – Some employees make more than $100,000 Annual payroll: $1,500,000

Subtract compensation amounts in excess of an annual salary of $100,000: $1,200,000

Average monthly qualifying payroll: $100,000

Multiply by 2.5 = $250,000

Maximum loan amount is $250,000


Example 3 – No employees make more than $100,000, outstanding EIDL

loan of $10,000.

Annual payroll: $120,000

Average monthly payroll: $10,000 Multiply by 2.5 = $25,000

Add EIDL loan of $10,000 = $35,000 Maximum loan amount is $35,000


Example 4 – Some employees make more than $100,000, outstanding EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Emergency Advance) loan of $10,000

Annual payroll: $1,500,000

Subtract compensation amounts in excess of an annual salary of $100,000: $1,200,000

Average monthly qualifying payroll: $100,000

Multiply by 2.5 = $250,000

Add EIDL loan of $10,000 = $260,000

Maximum loan amount is $260,000


What qualifies as a payroll cost?

Payroll costs consist of compensation to employees (whose principal place of residence is the United States) in the form of salary, wages, commissions, or similar compensation; cash tips or the equivalent (based on employer records of past tips or, in the absence of such records, a reasonable, good-faith employer estimate of such tips); payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payment for the provision of employee benefits consisting of group health care coverage, including insurance premiums, and retirement; payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees; and for an independent contractor or sole proprietor, wage, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment or similar compensation.



A few helpful links:


  1. The loan application

  2. The list of participating lenders

  3. FAQs about PPP from The Young Farmers Coalition

If you need help figuring out if PPP is for you or filling out your application, feel free to reach out  to Jeff Cole. While we are not experts, some of our consultants have experience helping other business owners navigate these new processes.





Three of our business advisors have set aside time each week, for the foreseeable future, to offer private coaching through Zoom meetings or you may call in.  Each ½ hour slot  (limited to one per business at this time) requires pre-registration at least 24 hours in advance. This will help us better schedule sessions if  demand is high.   More extensive follow-up support is available.  Contact Jeff Cole.

See below for a brief bio of each of the coaches along with their availability. To register for a session, click on the link after the advisors description.



Cian Dalzell (Three Maples Market Garden) is a farmer with experience providing planning, recordkeeping, and financial analysis for small new and beginning farmers. He has years of experience in produce and grocery wholesale and retail, including farmstand and CSA sales channels.  Cian offers coaching on Wednesday evenings  at 8 and 8:30 PM. 


Register for his coaching here:


When: 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada):       


When: 08:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)



Brian Zweig is a business consultant with many years of experience helping farms and small businesses of all types. He works with both beginning and established businesses and is able to support complex operations. Brian offers coaching on Friday mornings at 10 and 10:30 AM. 


Register for his coaching here:


When: 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada):


When: 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 


Julia Shanks is Carrot’s Senior Business Advisor. She has an MBA and is the author of the acclaimed “The Farmer’s Office” and training program The Farmers Edge.”  Julia supports food system businesses  of many kinds, both local and national, including famers, food processors and restaurants.  Julia offers coaching on Monday afternoons at 3 & 3:30 PM.

Register for her coaching here:


When: 3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)  

Meeting ID: 992 4546 4595 

Password: 907442       


When: 3:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada): 

Meeting ID: 923 4441 1490  

Password: 914586


Also The Carrot Project is hosting an open conversation for producers each Thursday, from noon to 1PM ET.  You can talk with other farmers and food producers, and me, about what’s working, what’s not, and what additional help would be good to have.   


Join Zoom Meeting        

Meeting ID: 857 629 284


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Meeting ID: 857 629 284