Deadline Approaching On Small Business Freeze Aid

Time is running out. Small business owners only have until Thursday, January 24, to apply for low-interest Small Business Administration loans to help with economic losses from the hard freeze that hit North Carolina last year, from April 6-9.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture made the loans available by approving the Governor's request for a disaster declaration due to crop losses estimated at close to $100 million.

"Last year was a tough one with the Easter freeze and high winds in
April, followed by the drought that is still ongoing," said Easley.
"While we are still waiting on Washington to pass an aid bill for
farmers, I want to make sure small businesses who need help can apply for this assistance."

Who qualifies for the freeze assistance? Farm-related and nonfarm-related small businesses and small agricultural cooperatives that suffered economic injury as a direct result of the freeze.

Businesses in all North Carolina counties except Cherokee, Clay, Currituck, Graham, Granville, Pamlico and Vance are eligible to apply.

Since farmers and ranchers are eligible to apply for USDA
disaster assistance, they are not eligible to apply to the SBA.

Eligible small businesses may qualify for loans up to $1.5 million at
a 4 percent interest rate with terms up to 30 years.

Interested business owners should contact the SBA's Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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