Florida and Georgia Eligible for Disaster Loans

Farms and non-profits affected by the recent droughts in Florida can apply for small business loans. Abnormally dry weather struck Florida and Georgia this past January, damaging businesses throughout the region. January is normally the beginning of the worst dry weather in Florida, and the most recent drought reached record levels, blanketing dozens of counties. The extreme weather continued, nearly unabated, until February, which brought slight relief to Florida farmers.

As a result of this weather, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced yesterday that federal funds will be available in the form of loans offered through the SBA’s Office of Disaster Management. Loan amounts can be up to $2 million, with 3% interest for non-profits and 4% interest for small businesses.

The January drought has had a significant impact on Florida farming. Due to rapidly dropping water levels in Lake Okeechobee, the largest freshwater lake in Florida, farmers in the vicinity were required to cut their water usage by 15%, a significant reduction given that over 65% of the land surrounding the lake is used for agricultural production.

Given the severity of the recent drought, the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has declared a disaster throughout northern and central Florida, stretching in to southeastern Georgia. While the deadline for application is December 5, some farmers are concerned that the impending government shutdown might hinder their recovery efforts. Should the government shutdown, the SBA will not accept new loan applications.

To learn more about agricultural financing opportunities contact a Farm Plus Financial representative by calling 866-929-5585 or by visiting .   

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer