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Federal Dishing Out Drought Disaster Loans

Press release from the U.S. Small Business Administration (via PRNewswire.com); July 20, 2012:  

ATLANTA, July 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that federal economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes located in Henry, Lake, Montgomery, Obion, Robertson, Stewart and Weakley counties in Tennessee as a result of the drought that began on June 19, 2012.

“These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in Kentucky. The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to assist eligible entities affected by the same disaster,” Skaggs added.

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible

farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

Loan amounts can be up to $2 million, with interest rates of 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for small businesses. Terms can be up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. The agency sets loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

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 e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than March 12, 2013.

For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at www.sba.gov.

Contact: Michael Lampton
Release Number: 12-660 KY 13127
Phone: 404-331-0333

Categories
Press Releases

Hauling Larger Hay Loads OK’d on State Roads

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; July, 11, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced an executive order in response to drought conditions and extreme heat impacting Tennessee farmers that allows haulers of hay to carry larger loads as long as they observe other safety requirements.

The order allows for an increase in gross vehicle weight to 95,000 pounds, not exceeding 20,000 pounds per axle load, for semi-truck/trailers. The order also increases the height of trailer loads to 13 feet, 6 inches and the width to a maximum of 14 feet during daylight hours. The increase in width allows haulers to transport standard six- to seven-foot round hay bales side by side, increasing the capacity being hauled per truck without a permit.

The order is valid for 60 days and expires on September 8, 2012. A copy of Executive Order No. 14 is attached.

“What started out as a very promising year has quickly turned devastating for many farmers, who are facing a short supply of hay due to the drought,” Haslam said. “This order will help ensure that hay can be shipped safely and without delay across the state as needed.”

Tennessee is a major producer of hay, which is used to support the state’s $1.3 billion livestock industry. In 2011, Tennessee farmers produced an estimated 3.9 million tons of hay valued at more than $332 million. Hay cutting began earlier than normal this year due to the warm spring, but many farmers have reported reduced hay yields in areas where rainfall has been inadequate.

“With hay stocks low and spring cuttings below normal, many farmers are heading into the fall with less than half the hay they’ll need for the winter,” state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “The governor’s order will help farmers move hay to where it’s needed at a time when they are already feeding hay because of dried up pastures.”

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has joined with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation in making the 2012 Tennessee Hay Directory available to help farmers source locally produced hay. A link to the directory and to the University of Tennessee Extension’s Drought and Extreme Heat website for farmers can be found on TDA’s website: www.tn.gov/agriculture.

A link to USDA’s latest Crop Progress and Condition Report for Tennessee can also be found on TDA’s website at www.tn.gov/agriculture. The report is made available each Monday after 3 p.m. central time April through November.