SBA offering loans to drought-impacted businesses

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The U.S. Small Business Administration’s economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes located in Mississippi as a result of drought and excessive heat that occurred from Jan. 1 – Aug. 30, 2011.

“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to assist eligible entities affected by the same disaster,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

The SBA’s disaster declaration includes the following counties: Adams, Amite, Attala, Benton, Calhoun, Carroll, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Claiborne, Clarke, Clay, Copiah, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, George, Greene, Grenada, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Kemper, Lafayette, Lamar, Lawrence, Leake, Lee, Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tippah, Union, Walthall, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wilkinson, Winston and Yazoo.

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and non-farm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquacultural enterprises, agricultural producers, 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.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 3 percent for private non-profit organizations of all sizes and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.  The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

For additional information, call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan application forms can be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Those affected by the disaster may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA’s website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than June 14, 2012.

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