The extreme drought conditions Arkansas has been experiencing have led to a federal disaster declaration that could help the state’s farmers.
Other businesses may also qualify for assistance, says the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack officially declared nearly every Arkansas county a disaster area, allowing farmers and ranchers to qualify for special federal aid.
The SBA has also made it official for a number of small businesses adversely affected financially or directly by those drought conditions. The SBA says that the following small businesses may qualify for federal assistance due to the extreme weather:
- If your main customers are farm-related and they are having difficulty paying you for bills they owe, or your sales are way off because your customers are primarily farmers and ranchers impacted directly.
- Businesses affected by low water levels, such as marinas or river guides.
- Businesses that rely on water in some type of industrial use if water is scarce.
- Businesses that have had to adjust working hours because of the excessive heat and either pay premium pay for night work or simply can’t work as long because of the heat.
- Businesses in the timber or other industry that might have been precluded from working because of fire danger.
- Fireworks sellers who prepared for Fourth of July sales but because of fire bans could not sell their inventory.
SBA officials say businesses that have been impacted by heat and drought conditions should consider applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These are direct loans from SBA at a 4% interest rate for terms up to 30 years and amounts up to $2 million.
Also, existing SBA loan holders may qualify for deferring payments while seeking an SBA EIDL loan or until cash flow is back to necessary levels.
For more information, call 1.800.659.2955 or the Arkansas SBA at 501.324.7379 or go to www.sba.gov/ar.