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PPP loans having an impact in Brown County, New Ulm

BROWN COUNTY — The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has benefited businesses nationwide and locally. In Brown County, over 60 businesses have received at least $150,000 in federal assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

(A grand total for the county is not available. Loans are listed as being in a range, such as between $1 million and $5 million).

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of businesses across the country were impacted and the federal government intervened through the PPP.

The PPP is a U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) loan to help businesses forced to shut down or who have lost business keep their workforce employed during the Cortinarius pandemic. The SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met and the funds are used for eligible expenses. At least 60% of the forgiven loan must be used for payroll.

A summary of the program’s data, as of July 6, 2020, was published on the SMA website. According to the data, 4,880,943 PPP loans were approved nationwide. This represents over $521 billion in loans with an average loan size of $106,772.

Hundreds of businesses in Brown County were approved for the PPP loans. Most of the loans to Brown County businesses have been under $150,000 but the loans range from a few hundred dollars to the millions.

A sole-proprietor business in Sleepy Eye was approved for a $475.82 loan. In New Ulm, Associated Milk Producers Inc (AMPI) received at least $5 million to retain 500 jobs.

AMPI Vice President of Public Affairs, Sarah Schmidt said none of the jobs impacted by the loan was a New Ulm position. When the pandemic hit, New Ulm’s butter plant was able to continue running.

AMPI’s headquarters are located in New Ulm, which is why the loan was applied for from Brown County, but the payroll protection was actually for a cheese production facility in Portage, Wisconsin. This cheese plant was forced to halt processing for two weeks. This factory-produced shredded cheese, cheese slices and cheese loaves.

AMPI was able to qualify for this small business loan because of the cheese processing. The federal government allowed cheese manufactures with up to 1,250 to apply.

Schmidt said AMPI is a dairy coop that helps insures dairy farmers. Throughout the pandemic, AMPI has been able to use the milk produced by the dairy farmers. No milk dumping occurred.

“The loan helped AMPI employees but is also helped the coop members,” she said. The coop has 1,500 members in the upper midwest.

COVID-19 impacted the dairy business in that it changed the way Americans ate food products produced by the company. Before COVID-19 around 50% of meals were eaten at restaurants. Many of these restaurants were shut down at the start of the pandemic, which hurt one side of production but this led to increased sales at the grocery store.

AMPI was not the only agriculture business to receive a loan. Schwartz Farm, Inc of Sleepy Eye also received at least $5 million in PPP loans.

Other higher tier PPP loans include Martin Luther College (204 jobs), NUVERA Communications (197 jobs), South Central Coop (156 jobs), Mathiowetz Construction (60 jobs). Each received loans of at least $2 million.

August Schell Brewery and Beacon Promotions were approved for at least $1 million to retain 95 employees and 80 employees respectively. The City of Sleepy Eye also received at least $1 million for 115 employees.

New Ulm Area Catholics Schools (NUACS) received at least $350,000 to retain 50 employees. To retain 18 jobs, The Diocese of New Ulm was approved for at least $150,000. Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School Association was approved for at least $150,000 to retain 27 jobs.

The complete list of PPP data broken down by state can be viewed at the U.S. SBA website (https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses/sba-paycheck-protection-program-loan-level-data).

The PPP began accepting new applications July 6, 2020, in response to President Trump signing the program’s extension legislation. The new deadline for PPP loan is August 8, 2020.

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