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Loans offered to businesses who lost money in drought

Deadline to apply for loans is Nov. 7

The Maui News

Small nonfarm businesses in Maui and Hawaii counties that have lost revenue due to drought have until Nov. 7 to apply for a federal disaster loan, the U.S. Small Business Administration reminded residents on Wednesday.

The low-interest loans aim to offset economic losses caused by drought in both counties that began Jan. 1.

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.

Tanya Garfield, director of the SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West, said that the loans “may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact.”

“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,” Garfield added. “Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the applicant suffered any property damage.”

The interest rate is 3.875 percent for businesses and 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

By law, SBA makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster, which the secretary did on March 7.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. However, nurseries are eligible for assistance in drought disasters.

Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the secretary’s declaration.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. They may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

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