Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Tuesday, March 28

Small Business Administration to Aid Ag-Dependent Businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is making available federal disaster loans to small, non-farm, agriculture-dependent businesses located in the entire State of Mississippi as the result of damages and losses to crops caused by the combined effects of drought, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

"SBA's disaster declaration was issued as a result of a similar action taken by the Secretary of Agriculture to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops," said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA Field Operations Center East.

Under this declaration, SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is available to small, non-farm, agriculture-dependent businesses and small agricultural cooperatives that suffered economic injury as a direct result of the weather's effect on agricultural producers. A business that sells goods/services to agricultural producers may be unable to pay bills and/or meet expenses because of the reduced purchasing power of farmers and ranchers. Examples of eligible businesses are, but not limited to, farm implement dealers, seed and feed stores and spraying and irrigation businesses. Farmers and ranchers are not eligible to apply to SBA, but nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury caused by drought conditions.

Eligible small businesses may qualify for loans up to $1.5 million. These loans are available at a 4% interest rate with loan terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility for the program based on the size and type of business and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based upon each applicant's financial condition.

Interested business owners should contact the SBA's National Customer Service Center by calling toll-free 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired). Business loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA's Web site at

Completed loan applications must be returned to the SBA no later than September 11, 2006.


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