VDAC declares Greene a disaster area; assistance, loans available

Late last week the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs declared Greene County a primary disaster area due to losses caused by drought and related disasters that occurred during the 2012 crop year.

According to that VDACS news release, farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties are eligible to be considered for assistance that includes emergency loans from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.

Today the state agency announced that US federal economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The news release explained that 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. Under this Secretarial disaster declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster – which is defined as resulting from drought, excessive heat and high winds beginning January 1, 2012.

With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers are not eligible to apply to SBA.

The SBA loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of three percent for private non-profit organizations of all sizes and four 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.

According to the release issued last week, farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance through the FSA. Each emergency loan application will be considered on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available and repayment ability.

Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with more information. The local FSA office serving Greene is located in Orange at 325B Madison Road, and can be reached by phone at (540) 672-1638.

SBA loans can be applied for online using the Electronic Loan Application via this agency’s SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business and then mailed to: Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Disaster loan information and application forms also may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800.659.2955 (800.877.8339) for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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