Businesses can apply for drought-disaster loans

Small, nonfarm businesses in Weld and Larimer counties are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal drought disaster loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration.

Those businesses, including small agricultural cooperatives, small concerns engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of as much as $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the drought not occurred.

Loan eligibility is based on the financial impact of the drought and not on any actual property damage, said Alfred E. Judd, director of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West. The loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for private, nonprofit organizations. They have a maximum term of 30 years.

The loans are available following a Jan. 9 disaster declaration by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U. S. Department of Agriculture aid made available by Vilsack’s declaration. However, in drought disasters, nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster aid.

People may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s website,

Disaster-loan information and application forms are also available from the SBA’s customer service center by calling SBA at (800) 659-2955, emailing or visiting SBA’s website, Individuals who are hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

The deadline to apply for loans is Sept. 9.

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