USDA and SBA offer drought aid

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 6:59 PM EDT
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Assistance continues for farms, businesses and nonprofits, following The County’s recent designation as a natural disaster area due to the current drought. Kathy McCarty has more on what type of help is available and how and who can apply.

A portion of Aroostook County was recently upgraded from a D-2 drought designation to a category D-3. The County is now deemed a natural disaster area. To help farms affected by this year’s extremely dry conditions, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency has emergency loans available.

“We do have some programs that may help, and I think overall those have kicked in now. Our LFP program we call it - Livestock Forage Program - kicks in, the Emergency Conservation Program does too, as well as emergency loans,” says David Lavway, State Executive Director, USDA Farm Service Agency.

For those impacted by the drought but who may not be farmers, other programs are available to help. The U.S. Small Business Administration has help available through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans. These loans area available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and private nonprofit organizations.

“What people need to do is show a direct relationship between the drought and their loss of income. So the loans are for their necessary operating expenses and their monthly debt payment. They’re basically working capital loans to help them stay in business until things improve,” says Julie Garrett, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA loans are available for eligible farm-related and non-farm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of the disaster. Residents may also be experiencing issues due to the drought.

“What we tell people is contact their local town office and report the issues that they have with them, and if they have any needs they should go to their community first. If the communities start having issues that they can’t deal with themselves, then they’ll call The County,” says Darren Woods, Director of the Aroostook Emergency Management Agency.

Deadline for applying for both the FSA and SBA loans is May 4th of next year. Both programs are open to the counties of: Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, and Washington.

We’ll have more information on how to apply for both loan programs on our website.

For information on Farm Services Agency emergency loans, visit:

Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at

For information on Small Business Administration loans, applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at and should apply under SBA declaration # 16650, not for the COVID-19 incident.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also 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 email to Loan applications can be downloaded from Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Copyright 2020 WAGM. All rights reserved.

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