Loans could help Pike businesses hurt by drought

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Heavy rainfall may have eased the drought conditions in Alabama, but it can’t wash away the damage done to small agricultural businesses during the dry months.

To help small businesses recover from the extreme conditions, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has made Economic Injury Disaster Loans available in areas affected by the drought.

Pike County is one of the Alabama counties that fell under the SBA’s declaration.

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Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster.  With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers or ranchers. 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 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 3.125 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.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing).