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SBA Assistance is Available for Aquaculture Businesses only in 12 Mississippi Counties


Published on March 21, 2024 by Disaster Field Operations Center West

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses economically impacted by the severe or extreme drought that occurred Sept. 19-Dec. 5, 2023SBA’s Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced today. SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Jeff Landry on March 19.

“The SBA‘s mission-driven team stands ready to help Louisiana small businesses affected by the drought and resulting crawfish shortage,” said Administrator Guzman. “We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities weather this environmental and economic challenge.”

Approximately 365,000 crawfish acres across Louisiana have been affected by the conditions of saltwater intrusion, drought, and high temperatures. Harvesters of crawfish, producers of other aquaculture related products, and business affiliated with aquaculture industries are specifically requested to follow this link to apply online SBA.gov/disaster.

“Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to help meet working capital needs caused by this disaster,” said Francisco Sánchez Jr., associate administrator for the Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience at the Small Business Administration. “Friday, March 22, SBA customer service representatives will be available at the following virtual Business Recovery Center to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each business owner complete their application,” Sánchez continued. The virtual center will be open on the days and times indicated below. No appointment is necessary.

Opens at 8 a.m., Friday, March 22
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT
(916) 932-8925

Applicants may apply online and receive additional disaster assistance information at SBA.gov/disaster. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in all 64 Louisiana parishes along with Ashley, Chicot, Columbia, Lafayette, Miller, and Union counties in Arkansas; Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Hancock, Issaquena, Jefferson, Marion, Pearl River, Pike, Walthall, Warren and Wilkinson counties in Mississippi; Cass, Harrison, Jefferson, Marion, Newton, Orange, Panola, Sabine, and Shelby counties in Texas.

“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, SBA is delivering relief for businesses affected by climate impacts like the drought conditions in Louisiana.  This declaration offers much-needed assistance to small businesses engaged in aquaculture such as those who rely on the crawfish season. Small nonfarm businesses and small agricultural cooperatives of any size may also qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the drought not occurred,” said Sánchez.

“These loans may be used to pay normal operating expenses such as fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Sánchez added.

Eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 2.375 percent for small businesses and 4 percent for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years and are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

The Louisiana Small Business Development Centers are offering free, personalized counseling to help affected businesses in their recovery. Businesses may find a LSBDC location nearest to them online at louisianasbdc.org or by calling (866) 782-4159 to request consultation. Visitors are encouraged to call first for an appointment.

Interest does not begin to accrue until 12 months from the date of the first disaster loan disbursement. SBA disaster loan repayment begins 12 months from the date of the first disbursement.

The deadline to apply for economic injury is December 23, 2024.

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