Federal economic injury disaster loans are available to Florida small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations because of droughts that began Nov. 15, 2016, and Dec. 1, 2016, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Entities in Escambia, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties affected by the Nov. 15 drought and those in Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties affected by the Dec. 1 drought are eligible.

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 these disasters. 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.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 3.125 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are 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.

Applicants may apply using the electronic loan application via SBA’s secure website, https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center, 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339), for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website, www.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.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than Oct. 23, 2017.