Not all of the people in Missouri’s drought-damaged agricultural areas are farmers. But federal drought aid is available to them, too.
When crops dry up; when cattle are sent to market because their pastures are gone and hay is in short supply, people in town share the farmers’ pain. They’re small business people who rely on the farm economy for their success or survival.
The Small Business Administration says small businesses in 105 counties plus the city of St. Louis are eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans.
SBA spokesman Alex Contreras says the loans can go to farm equipment dealers who don’t sell equipment in times like these, or to fertilizer and seed and feed companies that see their business dry up, too—even to cafes and restaurants in rural areas.
The program also is available to 39 counties in six of our surrounding states that are adjacent to eligible Missouri counties.
Contreras says the SBA looks at monthly sales records to determine how damaged those businesses become. They can apply for loans of as much as two-million dollars at three and four percent interest with payback as long as thirty years.