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Local small businesses, farmers now eligible for federal drought aid 

Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Calif.) announced on Jan. 27 that San Luis Obispo County farmers and small business owners are newly eligible for several federal drought assistance programs.

After U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared 27 California counties, including SLO County, “primary natural disaster areas” on Jan. 15 due to the recent drought, low-interest federal emergency loans became available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

“These federal resources will go a long way towards helping Central Coast farmers and small businesses cope with the impacts of the ongoing drought,” Capps said in a press release. “I encourage anyone who is interested in these programs to contact my office for additional information or assistance.”

Farmers and ranchers can now apply for low-interest emergency loans from the FSA. The loans are designed to help producers recover from losses in production, can be extended up to $500,000, and have an annual interest rate of 3.75 percent. For more information, visit

Small businesses adversely impacted by the drought can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million from the SBA to assist with financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the drought not occurred. Applicants can file online at

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