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Loans Available For San Diego County’s Nonfarm Companies Affected By Drought

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The federal Small Business Administration announced Thursday it will make low-interest loans available to non-farm companies in San Diego County that suffered drought-related economic losses between April 30 and June 24.

The loans became available when U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack declared a drought disaster for San Diego, Imperial, Orange and Riverside counties Wednesday.

The federal assistance will help small businesses that depend on farm and ranch production for revenues. Nurseries would be one example, according to the agency.

"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," said Alfred Judd, director of SBA's Disaster Field Operations Center-West.

Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses.

"Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage,'' Judd said. "These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 2.875 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.''

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster loans, but should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance, the SBA said.

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