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Disaster help available to Michigan farms, small businesses

Farms and small businesses in much of Michigan are eligible for low-interest federal loans because of heavy rain and snow and unseasonably low temperatures last spring.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 43 counties as natural disaster areas, making assistance available to farms and ranches.

The move followed requests from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state’s congressional delegation.

The USDA is still considering whether losses in 17 other counties are extensive enough to include them in the designation.

Meanwhile, small businesses in those counties will be eligible for assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The agency offers low-interest loans to help meet obligations such as debt payments and payroll that could have been handled if the disaster had not occurred.

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