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Recent posts by Johnathan Hladik

It’s time for Congress to step up for rural businesses, communities

Small businesses continue to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. While they are doing their best to keep the doors open, they are hurting. That is especially true in our rural towns.

Congress has acted to provide businesses with loans through the Small Business Administration six months of payment forgiveness. This is a lifeline for big city enterprises, but it doesn’t help rural entrepreneurs. That is because many rural businesses do not have access to an SBA lender and must borrow from a USDA Rural Development program instead. 

Upswing in direct purchasing brings challenges for small meat processors

One of the great benefits of living in a rural community is our ability to enjoy food grown locally. Families appreciate easy access to high quality nutrition. Many farms and ranches depend on these local sales. 

Like so much of our daily life, this system was disrupted by COVID-19. When work is interrupted at industrial processing facilities, commodity producers flood local meat lockers with their product. With already limited reservation space being taken up by large growers, those who depend on direct-to-consumer sales were left out.

Nebraska Unicameral Update—July 21, 2020

After a nearly four month recess due to COVID-19 concerns, the Nebraska Legislature reconvened its 2020 session on Monday.

Lawmakers returned to the legislative chambers with several safety measures in place, including plexiglass dividers and restrictions on who could be on the floor during the proceedings. Restrictions are also in place for members of the public and lobbyists, who will not be permitted in the balconies of the chamber or the hallway between the west stairs and the clerk’s office. 

Your View: Think small communities

They may not be big, but small businesses are having a huge impact in your rural community. Yet, when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, Congress left them out.

While many businesses, such as retail, restaurants, salons and care providers, have been allowed to reopen amid new restrictions due to coronavirus concerns, small rural business owners with loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) continue to face challenges, with many worried they may have to close their doors.