ATLANTA —Agriculture today is a high tech business, with the Triangle region a hub for Agbiotech, but that won’t save an Ag business from drought or disaster. The U.S. Small Business Administration, however, can help some. The SBA has announced that federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations located in North Carolina as a result of the drought that began on July 28, 2015.
The SBA’s disaster declaration includes the following counties: Buncombe, Burke, Cleveland, Gaston, Henderson, Lincoln, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Polk and Rutherford in North Carolina.
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. However, 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 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 4 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.