SBA loans available for businesses affected by last summer’s rain

The Small Business Administration reminds certain types of agriculture-related businesses in eligible counties that June 20 is the deadline for filing federal economic disaster loans.

The loans are intended for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture enterprises and most private non-profit organizations that suffered financial losses due to excessive rains from June 1 to July 10, 2021. Branch , Calhoun, Hillsdale, Huron, Kalamazoo, Saint Joseph, Sanilac and Tuscola counties are the eligible areas.

SBA public affairs specialist Jay MacKenna said those counties are eligible because of the Secretary of Agriculture’s disaster declarations, with the SBA issuing its own statement to help businesses recover.

“Maybe for the farmers in the community, their crops were damaged or their livestock was lost,” MacKenna said. “Then they cannot afford the typical purchases they make in a normal year, be it machinery, agricultural tools, grain or seeds. There could be a number of businesses affected by this disaster.

MacKenna said these loans can help anything from a grain elevator, a farmer who can’t buy a car or furniture, to restaurants that aren’t getting the volume of business they usually do.

Agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers are not eligible for this loan program. Loans are granted to them through the United States Department of Agriculture.

These loans can be used to pay fixed debts, salaries, accounts payable and other bills that could have been paid had the excessive rains not occurred. They are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.88% for small businesses and 2% for private non-profit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the applicant’s size, types of business, and financial resources.

Federal funds are used to provide these loans and are part of the normal SBA budgeting process.

Prior to the rainfall experienced during this period, the entire lower peninsula was in a drought condition, with the upper thumb in a severe drought condition. In August, the Upper Thumb was the only part of the lower peninsula still in an abnormally dry to moderate state, even with all the precipitation.

Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA website at, which can be completed online.

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