A Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan will prove critical for the financial sustainability of Karen Paulus’s business, Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards.
Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards is a family-owned farm and agri-tourism destination. With more than 150 acres of fruit trees, the orchard grows 25 varieties of apples and seven varieties of peaches, as well as nectarines and plums. They also host events, classes and offer pick-your-own fruit.
Critical Emergency Funds
The PPP provides SBA-guaranteed loans to small businesses facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. PPP loans cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility costs throughout the eight weeks following receipt of the loan, and are forgivable if businesses meet certain criteria.
“I began hearing about the PPP loans from every direction as soon as the legislation passed,” Karen said. “I tried to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could, and it looked like I needed to apply through my commercial bank.”'
First steps towards relief
Karen applied through her bank the morning of Friday, April 3, the day the SBA’s PPP online portal opened. As she waited for news from her bank, placing calls and emails, other friends started receiving PPP loan confirmations.
“The following Tuesday, I read about credit unions and other types of lenders applying for PPP loans for customers,” Karen said. “And that’s when I contacted our AgChoice loan officer.”
A new path
Different from her experiences with the bank, Karen appreciated the individualized attention she received at Farm Credit. “It was nice to have the personal contact,” Karen said. “When our loan officer said she could submit a PPP application for us, it was a ray of sunshine.”
Karen canceled her application with the bank and submitted a new application to her loan officer on a Wednesday. By Friday, Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards had received PPP loan approval.
“It was night and day, working with AgChoice,” said Karen. “I think we’d still be waiting for our bank.”
While Karen was nervous to start her application anew, her relationship with AgChoice made all the difference. “We would have started with AgChoice if I had realized how much better the process would be.,” she said.
Compensating for anticipated loss
Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards makes much of its income during festivals, tours and classes held on the farm each summer. When COVID-19 hit, Karen was counting on the influx of cash she would receive in the coming months.
“My gut feeling is that we will need to refund those reservations,” Karen said. “The PPP loan will help lessen the pandemic’s kick as the year goes on.”
Farm Credit is committed to supporting farmers, ranchers and rural communities in good times and bad, and the COVID-19 is no exception. To read more about how we’ve been supporting our customers and communities, visit our COVID-19 support page.