The U.S. Small Business Administration is now offering emergency low-interest loans to help businesses that support agriculture in the state’s drought-stricken northwestern corner.
SBA officials said the economic disaster loans are available to small businesses, agricultural cooperatives, businesses engaged in aquaculture and nonprofits in Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens counties.
“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities affected by the same disaster,” Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta, said in a statement.
The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.6 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits
The U.S. Drought Monitor classifies Abbeville, Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties as being in a severe to extreme drought. Earlier this month, South Carolina’s Drought Response Committee classified the four as being in “moderate” drought stage.