SBA Loans Available for Small Businesses in Drought-Hit Northwest Iowa | Local News

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SIOUX CITY — Small nonfarm businesses in 12 counties in northwest Iowa are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the SBA announced Thursday.

The loans are intended to offset economic losses due to reduced incomes caused by the drought in the following major counties that began July 5, according to an SBA press release.

Major counties are Cherokee and O’Brien; neighboring counties include Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Ida, Lyons, Osceola, Plymouth, Sac, Sioux, and Woodbury County.

Much of northwestern Iowa is currently in drought to one degree or another. According to the US Drought Monitor, most of Plymouth County and significant areas of Cherokee and Woodbury counties are currently in a state of extreme drought; in each of these counties, the portion that is currently not classified as extreme drought is severe drought. Each of the other counties is classified as severe drought, moderate drought, or abnormally dry except for the northern parts of Osceola, Dickinson, and Lyon County.

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Small non-agricultural businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private non-profit organizations of any size may be eligible for economic disaster loans of up to $2 million for help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

The loans carry an interest rate of 2.935% for businesses and 1.875% for private non-profit organizations and have a maximum repayment term of 30 years. They’re available to small businesses and most nonprofits that don’t have the financial means to offset the effects of the drought without hardship, said Tanya N. Garfield, director of the Disaster Field Operations Center-West of the SBA.

“Eligibility for these loans is based solely on the financial impact of the disaster and not actual property damage,” Garfield said in a statement.

The SBA provides economic disaster loans when the United States Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, declared a disaster on July 11.

Businesses primarily engaged in agriculture or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster relief, according to an SBA press release. Agricultural businesses should contact the Farm Services Agency about the United States Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s Statement. Nurseries, however, are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in times of drought.

Applicants can apply online, receive additional information about disaster assistance, and upload applications at Disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. Applicants may also call the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information about SBA disaster assistance. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impediment, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services. Completed applications should be mailed to US Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to file an economic injury claim is March 13, 2023.

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