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SBA offers disaster loans to drought-affected businesses
Produce packagers, nurseries among those eligible for aid
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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is reminding the public that federal disaster loans are available to small businesses and small agricultural cooperatives located in parts of Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, as a result of damages and losses to crops caused by drought conditions that occurred in 2007.

These federal loans are available because the SBA issued disaster declarations to assist small businesses affected by the same events impacting farmers, which were previously declared by the Secretary of Agriculture.

“We felt it was important to inform businesses such as landscapers, marinas, motels and others that are experiencing a loss of income due to the drought that they can apply for an economic injury disaster loan to help with their working capital needs,” said Frank Skaggs, Director of SBA Field Operations Center East. “Typically farm related businesses such as produce packagers, implement dealers and suppliers are aware of these disaster loans, but other types of small businesses may not realize they are eligible to apply.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to farm-related and nonfarm-related small business concerns and small agricultural cooperatives that suffered economic injury as a direct result of these drought disaster declarations.

Farmers and ranchers are not eligible to apply to SBA, but nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

Eligible small businesses and small agricultural cooperatives may qualify for loans up to $1.5 million. These loans are available at a 4 percent interest rate with terms up to 30 years. SBA determines eligibility for the program based on the size and type of business and its resources. 

Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.  Under this disaster declaration, SBA cannot provide loans to agricultural producers.

Interested business owners can contact SBA to determine if the drought disaster declaration includes their county by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing-impaired) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from noon-10 p.m. (EST).  Customer service representatives are available to answer questions and can mail the SBA disaster business loan applications.

Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA’s Web site at Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center – 14925 Kingsport Rd., Fort Worth, TX 76155.