Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced Jan. 14 that small, nonfarm businesses in 43 Colorado counties are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to offset losses due to this summer’s severe drought. The announcement comes on the heels of a similar one last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it has designated 43 of Colorado’s 64 counties as disaster areas, making farmers and ranchers eligible for additional assistance from the Farm Service Agency.

“This summer’s drought has caused a wide array of economic hardships for Coloradans, from farmers and ranchers to the small businesses thoughout our rural communities,” Bennet said. “These disaster loans will help Colorado’s small businesses that are not directly connected to the agricultural industry. It is also yet one more reminder that Congress needs to pass a long-term Farm Bill to support producers and help our rural communities.”

Small businesses in the following counties that sell to farmers and ranchers are eligible to apply for assistance: Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Baca, Bent, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Elbert, El Paso, Fremont, Gunnison, Huerfano, Jefferson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lake, Larimer, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Otero, Park, Phillips, Pitkin, Prowers, Pueblo, Saguache, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, Washington, Weld, and Yuma.

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

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at 1-800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 1-800-877-8339.

The deadline to apply for these loans is September 9, 2013.

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