The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that federal Economic injury Disaster Loans are available in Massachusetts for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations with economic losses due to drought that began Aug. 9. The declaration includes the counties of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester in Massachusetts; and the adjacent counties of Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire in Massachusetts; Tolland and Windham in Connecticut; Cheshire, Hillsborough and Rockingham in New Hampshire; and Bristol, Newport and Providence in Rhode Island. “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 eligible entities, affected by the same disaster,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East. Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. Apart from aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers. ?Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.??? The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 3.04 percent for small businesses and 1.875 percent for private nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. 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 the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/ and should apply under SBA declaration # 17589. Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services), or sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. Submit completed loan applications to the SBA no later than April 17, 2023.