Washington, D.C.—Today, Reps. Mike Bost (IL-12) and Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced the Small Agricultural Producer Size Standards Improvement Act, which would modernize small business size standards for agriculture producers.  Currently, the size standard for agriculture producers is not subject to the same analysis and updates that other industries are and does not accurately reflect who is a small business. 

“The statutory size standard for agriculture producers doesn’t make sense and may reduce opportunities for small business farms and ranches to bid for federal contracts,” said Rep. Bost.  “My bipartisan legislation applies the same common sense methods to agriculture producers that are used to determine who qualifies as a small business in other industries.  In order to grow jobs and hire more workers, small businesses must have certainty and a clearer definition of the guidelines used to determine their size and status.”

“It’s time for the SBA to modernize small business size standards for farmers and ranchers,” said Rep. Meng. “These hard working entrepreneurs deserve to be treated the same as all other small business owners, and I’m pleased to work with Rep. Bost to help make this happen. All small businesses should be afforded equal access to the many resources provided by the SBA. We must do all we can to help all small businesses succeed.”

Rep Bost’s bill amends the Small Business Act, a law that provides small businesses certain preferences in the sale of goods and services to the federal government.  Small business size standards define which firms are small businesses for this purpose.  Congress removed the SBA’s ability to establish size standards for agriculture producers in 1985 and set the definition at $500,000 a year or less in gross receipts.  The standard has been updated only once, in the year 2000 when it was set at $750,000.  By permitting the Small Business Administration to use updated methodologies, the agency will be better able to reflect changes in the economy.

“Representative Bost’s bill recognizes that farms and ranches should be treated equitably with other types of businesses when the SBA defines what constitutes a small business,” said Chuck Connor, President of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “The legislation will mean that farmers, ranchers and growers have greater access to the SBA’s programs and expertise and it will help promote economic activity and job growth across rural America.”