A press release sent out by the United States Small Business Administration on September 18th may hold some good news for small businesses affected by the drought. Small, nonfarm businesses are now eligible to apply for low interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans are made available when the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agriculture disaster, which occurred on September 17th, 2014 when Secretary Tom Vilsack declared the drought a disaster. The program, known as The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) will cover 57 California counties and neighboring counties in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. The loans have been created to help offset the harsh economic impact of the current drought that began January 1, 2014. The EIDL eligibility will be limited to small, nonfarm businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, private nonprofit organizations (any size), and small businesses engaged in aquaculture. These entities may qualify for up to $2 million to help offset operating expenses and financial commitments which could have been made if the drought wasn’t present. It is important to note that eligibility for the loans is based on financial impact and not any actual property damage.
The EIDL loans have an interest rate of 4% for businesses and 2.625% for private, nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years and will be made available for qualified entities that do not have the financial ability to offset the impact of the drought without hardship. Deadline to apply for these loans is May 18, 2015.
Applicants may register online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure WEB site at https://disasterload.sba.gov/ela. Additional information can be obtained through the SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.