Damaging Drought Qualifies Missouri Small Businesses for SBA Disaster Loans

In response to the damaging drought that started on June 13, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has declared small nonfarm businesses in select Missouri counties and adjacent Iowa counties eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans. This initiative aims to counteract the financial pitfalls resulting from dwindling revenues, as Director Tanya N. Garfield of the SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West stated.

Missouri’s primary county under this aid is Mercer. The program also extends to the neighboring Missouri counties of Grundy, Harrison, Putnam, and Sullivan and to the adjacent Iowa counties, specifically Decatur and Wayne.

Garfield clarified the parameters of SBA’s aid. The relief effort is tailored to cushion the economic jolts for businesses contingent on farmers and ranchers—who’ve encountered a slump in agricultural production due to the drought—and for businesses directly hampered by the crisis.

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The Economic Injury Disaster Loans, targeting a diverse range of entities—from small nonfarm enterprises and agricultural cooperatives to aquaculture businesses and a majority of private nonprofits—can offer financial assistance of up to $2 million. This assistance is meant to fulfill financial commitments and operational costs, which would have been manageable without the drought.

Garfield reiterated that eligibility for these loans doesn’t revolve around tangible property damage but solely on the financial disturbance triggered by the catastrophe. With a 4% interest rate for businesses and a reduced rate of 2.375% for private nonprofit entities, the loans can extend for 30 years. They aim to serve small businesses and most private nonprofits that face financial struggles post-disaster.

It is worth noting that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s duty is to spotlight an agricultural calamity, prompting the SBA to roll out its Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The most recent disaster was officially marked on August 7.

Businesses predominantly rooted in farming or ranching are exempt from SBA disaster relief. These entities should instead turn their attention to the Farm Services Agency, which can provide information on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s relief measures announced post the Secretary’s declaration. An exception is carved out for nurseries eligible for the SBA’s assistance during drought disasters.

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Businesses eager to capitalize on this relief can apply online, access more information, and obtain application forms from https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/.

The application window for these economic injury loans remains open until April 8, 2024, allowing ample time for affected businesses to gather their resources and seek assistance.

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