Small non-farm businesses in 13 Montana counties and three neighboring North Dakota counties are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The loans are designed to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought in the following primary counties; the drought was formally declared on June 20:
Primary Montana counties: Daniels, Garfield, McCone, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley;
Neighboring Montana counties: Custer, Dawson, Petroleum, Phillips, Prairie, Richland and Rosebud;
Neighboring North Dakota counties: Divide, McKenzie and Williams.
Tanya Garfield, director of the SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West, said in a press release, “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 3.215 percent for businesses and 2.5 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."
Garfield noted, “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.”
Small non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private non-profit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred, according to the press release from the SBA.
By law, SBA makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. The Secretary declared this disaster on June 28, 2017.
Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in drought disasters.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
They may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on SBA disaster assistance.
Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to apply for these loans is February 28, 2018.