Cooke County small businesses may be eligible to apply for disaster assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the agency recently announced.

Small nonfarm establishments in the county may apply for low interest federal disaster loans to offset economic losses stemming from rain that fell in Grayson County beginning Oct. 1, 2019, Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West announced in a press release. Businesses in Cooke County and Oklahoma’s Love County are eligible because those counties are contiguous to Grayson County, one of the two primary counties listed in the disaster declaration.

“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Garfield said in the release.

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may 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 disaster not occurred, according to the release.

Eligibility is based on the rain’s financial impact, not on actual property damage, Garfield explained in the release. The interest rate is 3.75% for businesses or 2.75% for private nonprofits. Maximum term is 30 years.

By law, SBA makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. The secretary declared the associated disaster on April 13, 2020.

Farms and ranches aren’t eligible for SBA disaster assistance and should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. 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. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call 800-877-8339.

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