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Marshall area businesses approved for millions in PPP loans

Ralco, Turkey Valley Farms received the largest loan approvals in Marshall, according to recently released SBA data

MARSHALL — The COVID-19 pandemic has had a far-reaching impact on Minnesota businesses, according to data released by the U.S. Small Business Administration last week. Hundreds of area businesses and nonprofits were approved for loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Some applicants — including agribusinesses, hospitals and casinos — were approved for loans of millions of dollars, the data said.

“It’s really a way for us to preserve jobs,” Ralco president Brian Knochenmus said Monday. Ralco Nutrition was one of the Marshall area businesses approved for PPP loans of more than $2 million. The company reported that the loan money would help support over 100 employees. And across Lyon County, hundreds more businesses and nonprofits were also getting help from the PPP.

Last week, the SBA released data on thousands of businesses across the country that were approved for PPP loans. The Paycheck Protection Program is meant to help businesses cover payroll costs during the COVID-19 crisis. While the SBA guarantees the PPP loans, the loans are made by lending institutions. The lenders review applications for PPP loans, approve them and submit them to the SBA.

Dozens of businesses in Lyon County received PPP loans of at least $150,000. SBA data didn’t give exact loan amounts for each business. Amounts were listed in a range — for example, between $150,000 to $350,000, or between $350,000 and $1 million.

Lyon County businesses and nonprofits receiving loans of $1 million or less ranged from agricultural businesses to health care providers, car dealerships and construction contractors.

In Marshall, six businesses were approved for loans of $1 million or more. Topping the list were Ralco Nutrition and Turkey Valley Farms, which were each approved for PPP loans of between $2 million and $5 million. The Turkey Valley loan would help support a reported 374 jobs, while the Ralco loan would help support a reported 145 jobs, the data said.

Midwest Contracting, Marshall Concrete Products, Carlson & Stewart Refrigeration and Ag Plus Cooperative were all approved for loans of between $1 million and $2 million.

Knochenmus said PPP loan funding was helping Ralco keep its employees while the company fights to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact of the pandemic, as far as agriculture goes, it’s dramatically impacted our customers,” Knochenmus said. With meat processing facilities affected by coronavirus outbreaks, producers are being forced to decide whether to destroy livestock or try and hold them until they can be slaughtered.

“Our work hasn’t disappeared,” Knochenmus said — but it has changed. Farmers who are trying to save some of their livestock will need to change the animals’ diets. “We’re really fighting through it, and helping our producers fight through it,” he said.

The ag industry is also affected by uncertainties at businesses where people buy food, like restaurants and stores, Knochenmus said. By helping to preserve jobs, the PPP “does justice to the local economy in a big way,” he said. But the crisis for businesses and employees is far from over.

“The money is going to run out, and the pandemic is not going to go away,” he said. “We do have to open our markets responsibly.”

The SBA made more specific data available on PPP loans of $150,000 or less. At that level, hundreds of Marshall area businesses were approved for PPP loans. While the information the SBA released didn’t name the businesses that received the smaller loans, they did include information on the type of business, the loan amount they received, and the lender they received the loan from. In Marshall, the smaller PPP loans ranged from a roughly $147,000 loan to an S corporation, to a $1,000 loan to a self-employed individual.

Marshall wasn’t the only southwest Minnesota community where large PPP loans were approved. The Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in Renville was approved for a $5 million to $10 million loan. Farmers Union Industries in Redwood Falls, which operates businesses including rendering and meat byproduct processing, also received a $5 million to $10 million loan.

Area businesses and nonprofits approved for loans of $2 million to $5 million included Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel in Morton; Johnson Memorial Health Services in Dawson; Noah’s Ark Processors in Dawson; Pipestone County Medical Center; and Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort in Granite Falls.

Area businesses and nonprofits approved for loans of $1 million to $2 million included Murray County, for its medical center; the Hendricks Community Hospital; Jonti-Craft in Wabasso; New Horizon Farms in Pipestone; and West Central Sanitation. While West Central Sanitation is based in Willmar, it does provide services to a wider area in southwest and west central Minnesota.

The complete PPP loan data, broken down by state, is available on the U.S. Treasury Department’s website, at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses/sba-paycheck-protection-program-loan-level-data.

The Paycheck Protection Program re-opened on July 6, in response to President Trump signing the program’s extension legislation. The new deadline to apply for a PPP loan is Aug. 8.

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