Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the extension of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to July 12, 2019. The $25 million program will help agricultural producers in designated disaster areas prepare for the upcoming growing seasons, as part of ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Michael.

Designated disaster areas include Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.

“We are laser-focused on getting real relief and assistance to Floridians in our Northwest Florida communities,” said Governor DeSantis. “Extending the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program deadline will help more Florida farmers get back on their feet sooner.”

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) currently administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation to provide cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a producer secures other financial resources, including payment of crop insurance claims or federal disaster recovery appropriations.

“Governor DeSantis is determined help communities in the Florida Panhandle fully recover from Hurricane Michael,” said DEO Executive Director Ken Lawson. “This loan will provide much needed assistance to agricultural producers in the impacted areas.”

Florida agricultural producers with land in production that has suffered physical damage and/or economic injury as a result of Hurricane Michael can apply for the short-term loans up to $200,000. To be eligible, the agricultural producer must have been established prior to Oct. 7, 2018.

To complete an application by the July 12, 2019 deadline, or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voicemails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.



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