Due to the ongoing drought, in February and March this year the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued disaster declarations for numerous counties in California including San Diego. This means eligible farmers and ranchers of “family-sized” farming operations may apply for a USDA disaster loan (maximum $500,000) for physical damage and crop production loss that has occurred since Jan. 1, 2016. The incident period is ongoing, but the application deadline is Nov. 2, 2016. To apply, county farmers need to contact the Farm Service Agency in Bakersfield by phone at 661-336-0967 ext. 2 or by mail at 5000 California Ave. Suite 100, Bakersfield, CA 93309. This is not a grant or free money, but rather disaster loans for farmers/ranchers economically impacted by the drought, who may not have other options.
Due to the USDA Declaration, the Small Business Administration has also declared many counties, including San Diego, as disaster areas. The SBA also has a disaster loan program, and it applies to eligible small, non-farm businesses (for example truck companies that would have driven for farmers, or farm equipment vendors), agricultural collectives, and private non-profits. This declaration is applicable for losses sustained as of Jan. 1, 2016 with an application deadline of Nov. 2, 2016. To apply, eligible businesses should contact the SBA at 1-800-659-2955, email@example.com, or www.sba.gov/disaster.
An important note: assistance is available for drought impacts that have occurred this year only, not the past couple of years.