The Florida Catastrophic Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated by the Governor of Florida to assist agricultural producers of field crops that were devastated by Hurricane Michael.
The program, which is a subset of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, allows agricultural producers of field crops to secure short-term, interest-free funding for the upcoming grow cycle. Its purpose is to help bridge the gap between the time damage occurred and when a producer secures other longer term financial resources, such as payment of crop insurance claims, federal disaster recovery appropriations or a loan.
The Florida Catastrophic Emergency Bridge Loan Program is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected agricultural producers, which is why eligibility is linked pursuit to other financial sources. Note: Loans made under this program are short-term debt loans made by the state of Florida using public funds – they are not grants. Catastrophic Emergency Bridge Loans require repayment by the approved applicant from longer term financial resources.
- Designated Disaster Areas: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.
- Qualified Applicant: Applications will be accepted by qualified field crop producers that maintain a farm in the state of Florida. Qualified applicants must be a Florida agricultural producer with land in production that has suffered physical damage and/or economic injury as a result of the designated disaster and be established prior to Oct. 7, 2018.
- Amount: Up to $200,000 per eligible applicant.
- Term: Up to 2 years.
- Limitation: Only 1 loan may be made per eligible business. All previous bridge loans received MUST be paid in full.
- Interest Rate and Penalties: Loans will be interest-free for the loan term (2 years). The Interest rate will be 12% per annum on the unpaid balance thereafter, until the loan balance is repaid in full. Loan default is subject to a normal commercial collection process.
- Application Period: Applications will be accepted by qualified Florida agricultural producers under this program through June 30. 2019, contingent on the availability of funds.
- Review eligibility requirements and loan process.
- Download, complete and sign the application form.
- Gather required support documentation.
- Contact and submit completed and signed application and support documentation to your local Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC). You can locate your local SBDC at www.FloridaSBDC.org/locations.
For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Headquarters. Email: Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. Phone toll-free: (866) 737-7232.
About the Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was first activated following Hurricane Andrew. It has been activated 24 additional times following disasters and has helped more than 4,160 small businesses statewide to receive more than $123.1 million in assistance.