Hardship fund: Support for Agriculture and Forestry

The Corona virus pandemic constitutes for Austria the most severe crisis since World War II. The agricultural and forestry holdings are not spared the effects of the crisis either. The hardship fund is a first aid measure of the Federal Government and supports enterprises, which have got into acute financial distress. The money is a one-off contribution and doesn’t have to be paid back. The application takes place online via eAMA.

The support from the hardship fund takes place in 2 stages:

Supported are part-time and full-time farms with up to nine workers and a maximum turnover of up to 2 million. Multiple insurances are permissible. The subsidies are tax-free.

The emergency aid (stage 1) expired by 15 April 2020.

Current information on stage 2 is available at:

 

Which criteria must be complied with in order to be eligible for a subsidy:

Enterprises

  • which are affected by an officially ordered ban on access due to COVID-19:
  • which can furnish proof of a slump in sales of at least 50 % in relation to a comparable period of the previous year;
  • which record an increase in costs for external workers in relation to a comparable period of the previous year;
  • which record a price loss of at least 50 % due to the quality loss with saw logs, and
  • young farmers (who are running a new line of business since 2018), if in the respective lines of business a slump of sales of at least 50% has been recorded.

How is the subsidy calculated?

  • For all eligible farms a minimum amount of subsidy of 500 and a maximum amount of subsidy of 2,000 per farm manager has been fixed. Additional earnings from non-agricultural activities are offset;
  • In the period from 16 March to 15 September 2020 any three months can be used as a period under review for the calculation of the losses in incomes;
  • The subsidisation amounts to 80 % of the difference in incomes of the comparable period of time of the year before and the incomes in the respective period under review;
  • For the calculation of the incomes, depending on the line of business, the turnovers, the external labour costs or the price loss are used as a basis;
  • When calculating the incomes, depending on the line of business, lump-sum percentages for costs not accrued are offset;
  • Likewise, additional earnings from non-agricultural activities are offset.

Which lines of business are supported?

  • Wine and must taverns;
  • Special crops in wine-growing, fruit growing, horticulture, and vegetable growing as well as Christmas tree cultures (as regards external labour costs);
  • Agricultural holdings which let private rooms or holiday apartments (farm holidays);
  • Farms with direct marketing to the gastronomy, schools and industrial catering as well as the direct marketing of horticultural products and the marketing of horticultural products to wholesale and retail trade;
  • Enterprises offering activities in the fields of agricultural and silvicultural pedagogics;
  • Enterprises producing saw logs on a contractual basis, which are, however, not collected any more due to the spreading of the Covid-19 virus.

The subsidy can also be applied for via www.eama.at. Applications filed so far are dealt with according to the current guideline. In order to select a different calculation period, applications already filed for the period under review 16 March to 15 April 2020 can be withdrawn until the end of July.

published at 25.08.2020, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)