SACRAMENTO — Small, nonfarm businesses in 30 California counties are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought that began on Jan. 1, 2012, in the following primary counties,” announced Alfred E. Judd, Director of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West.
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Primary California counties are Amador, Merced, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma, Ventura and Yolo; while neighboring California counties are Alpine, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Lake, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter and Tuolumne.
“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Judd said.
Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for private, nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private, nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Judd said.
By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster at the request California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s designated representative, Mark Ghilarducci, secretary of California Emergency Management.
Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency (FSA) about the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, in drought disasters nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at 800-659-2955, e-mailing [email protected], or visiting SBA’s Website at sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 800-877‑8339.
The deadline to apply for these loans is Aug. 19, 2013.