Small nonfarm businesses in 49 North Dakota counties and neighboring states are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The announcement was made on April 22 by Tanya N. Garfield, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center-West area. The loans are meant to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by drought. By law, SBA makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. The secretary declared this disaster on April 19.

“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 Garfield.

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, which could have been met had the disaster not occurred, are available.

Primary North Dakota counties include: Adams, Benson, Billings, Bottineau, Bowman, Burke, Burleigh, Cavalier, Divide, Dunn, Eddy, Emmons, Foster, Golden Valley, Grant, Hettinger, Kidder, Lamoure, Logan, McHenry, McIntosh, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Mountrail, Nelson, Oliver, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Renville, Rolette, Sheridan, Sioux, Slope, Stark, Stutsman, Towner, Walsh, Ward, Wells and Williams.

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Barnes, Dickey, Grand Forks, Griggs, Ransom and Steele are considered ‘neighboring counties’ and loans are available to businesses in those counties as well.

In Minnesota, Kittson and Marshall counties are also included.

The loans have an interest rate of 3% for businesses and 2% for private, nonprofit organizations, up to 30 years.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. Nurseries, however, are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in drought disasters.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Hearing-impaired individuals may call 800-877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76155. The deadline to apply for economic injury loans is Dec. 20.