Small nonfarm businesses in 77 Texas counties are now eligible to apply for lowinterest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, announced Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West. These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by drought in the following primary counties that began Oct. 1, 2019.

 

Primary counties: Anderson, Atascosa, Bastrop, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Ellis, Freestone, Gonzales, Henderson, Hill, Johnson, Kimble, Lee, Llano, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Menard, Navarro, Sutton, Travis, Val Verde, Washington and Wilson;

Neighboring counties: Austin, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Bosque, Brazos, Burnet, Callahan, Cherokee, Coleman, Comanche, Concho, Coryell, Crockett, Dallas, DeWitt, Eastland, Edwards, Falls, Fayette, Frio, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hays, Hood, Houston, Karnes, Kaufman, Kerr, Kinney, La Salle, Lavaca, Leon, Limestone, Live Oak, McMullen, Medina, Milam, Mills, Parker, Robertson, San Saba, Schleicher, Smith, Somervell, Tarrant, Terrell, Tom Green, Van Zandt, Waller and Williamson.

 

“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Garfield said.

 

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

 

“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.

 

By law, SBA makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. The Secretary declared this disaster on Oct. 15, 2019.

 

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in drought disasters.

 

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hardofhearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

 

The deadline to apply for economic injury is June 15, 2020.

 

APPLICATIONS FOR PREGNANCY ULTRASOUND SCHOOL NOW BEING ACCEPTED

 

Applications for the Pregnancy Ultrasound School for sheep and cattle are now being accepted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The school will be held Dec. 5-6 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at 7887 U.S. Highway 87 N. in San Angelo.

Participants will learn how to determine pregnancy in sheep and cattle via ultrasonography. Students will be instructed on how to read ultrasound images, determine the stage of pregnancy and how to count litter size.

Space is limited and applications will be accepted until the school is full, or Dec. 1. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and may apply online. The cost is $150 for state residents or $250 for out-of-state participants. 

Participants can choose to focus on one species or gain experience with both sheep and cattle. The school is intended to fill a gap in the industry by enabling producers to perform ultrasounds on their own livestock.

 “Internationally, sheep farmers routinely use pregnancy detection via ultrasonography to improve flock productivity,” said Reid Redden, AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist, San Angelo. “Here in the U.S., there is a shortage of trained pregnancy scanners to provide this service. Our intent is to help farmers learn how to perform the test themselves and to assist veterinarians who are looking to gain large-scale commercial experience.”

The event will have a variety of ultrasound machines and probes for students to gain hands-on experience with. Those with ultrasound equipment are highly encouraged to bring their own equipment to learn upon

Commercial pregnancy determination is a veterinary-protected practice; this course is intended for individuals who wish to use this technology on their own flocks or herds. Veterinarians are also welcome to attend.

Basic rectal palpation skills in cattle will be needed for participants who want to learn trans-rectal ultrasound techniques in that species, said Carpenter.

For more information, contact Redden or Thorne at 325-653-4576.